creationism, education, evolution, favourite person, science, Sites of Interest, Things We Should Know

“Ardi”: No Longer Missing

My friends, it is a good day when the ludicrous ramblings of demagogues are undone by the spirit of scientific exploration. I’d like to introduce your friend and mine, “Ardi”:

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Ardi is a specimen of Ardipithecus ramidus, who walked the Earth over a million years before Lucy, who herself lived about 3.2 million years ago. She is, in simplest terms, the common ancestor of humans and apes, or, even more importantly, the ‘missing link’ that was a supposed weakness of evolutionary theory.

From the online National Geographic article:

Announced at joint press conferences in Washington, D.C., and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the analysis of the Ardipithecus ramidus bones will be published in a collection of papers tomorrow in a special edition of the journal Science, along with an avalanche of supporting materials published online.

“This find is far more important than Lucy,” said Alan Walker, a paleontologist from Pennsylvania State University who was not part of the research. “It shows that the last common ancestor with chimps didn’t look like a chimp, or a human, or some funny thing in between.”

This is an historic find with broad significance to the study of human biology and history. To its credit, the New York Times does lead its Science section with this, but it deserves a lot more attention.

Strike another of the unscientific arguments against evolution. Take that, Kirk Cameron!

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19 thoughts on ““Ardi”: No Longer Missing

  1. Of course, you know that this only strengthens the arguments of the Kirk Camerons of the world – every time we find a fossil that “fills a gap” in the evolutionary line, we are really creating two new gaps for Creationists to promote.

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  2. I’m having a logical quandry. On the one hand, my brain feels that there’s no limit to the number of gaps we can hand the creationists, as we discover more and more extinct species. On the other hand, I know the number of gaps is not infinite, because the number of species produced on this planet has some finite limit. So my brain’s convinced that there’s no limit to the limit.

    And now I need a drink.

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  3. Wow! Why would you be happy and gloating, at the idea of no Creator? Why would anyone want there to be no Creator or heaven? Does the thought of no heaven make you happy? What kind of person does not want the hope of heaven even for their loved ones (especially their children) if not themselves, i just cannot understand that!!! Are you that afraid of accountability? What kind of person would be happy if there were no God? So you would be happy to live and die with no purpose, no hope? Why live at all?

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    1. Wow great argument to you. Just keep on hoping for heaven (without the capitalization). Did you even read what you wrote “hope”. If you didn’t know there are 22 major religions all with their own belief and the origin of human life and which has concrete proof? All fights for their own belief and you are sitting here exclaiming your god? Ardi is concrete proof not a human fabrication its something that happened and can be proven so. Think about why you want to go to heaven and if what you spent your life loving is real or not. Because god didn’t kill the Jews nor the millions of people who died of religious fanaticism. It was us humans, we need something to believe in, something to give us hope. And although I am an atheist I do believe there is good in religion, however fabricated, in that most strives toward the good of the human race. And yes this is probably rambling but your comment just annoyed me so much and so ignorant that I felt like I should spend 5 minutes writing a reply.

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  4. What kind of person has to create a mythical Creator for support? What kind of person is so self-centred that the life they have been given isn’t enough – they need to have a heaven to continue it later? What sort of person is so afraid of death that they need to make up fairytales to “explain” it? What kind of person is so ingratious that life itself isn’t glorious enough that it also has to have “meaning”?

    Sheesh.

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  5. Roxanne: I don’t believe their main focus is not gloating over there being no creater but rather happier and celebrating that the stupidity over evolution vs creation has taken one more step toward a better understanding of who we really are. Unfortunately, religion has taken a black eye many times from idiots who try to use the bible and other religious texts as scientific laws. Religion has no bearing on the science of life. Religion is more importantly a how to live “guide”. There are many aspects of religion that are very useful and important in everyone’s lives. It is sad that the idiots wrapping themselves in clerical garb spouting crap that has ruined the good things that religion can offer.
    Religion is not for everyone. I go to church every week, but I do not judge my fellow koggers over their choice and I hope they do not judge me over my choice.
    Their lives do have meaning through their family and friends. They do not need a creator. I am glad they are part of my life because they bring me balance, which everyone needs.

    My two pennies

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  6. No Paul, we don’t judge you over your choice, however I will challenge you that religion is not a very useful “how to live guide”. For instance, was your wife a virgin when you got married? If not, why didn’t you stone her to death as ordered in the Old Testament? (I don’t mean to infer that I have any knowledge of your wife’s virginity at your wedding, but I happen to know that you guys lived together for some time and I expect there was more than backgammon going on betimes.) You didn’t (and we’re thankful that you didn’t) because you accept *that* bit of the bible as symbolic or dated or otherwise ignorable. Thus, you applied modern morality to your “how to live guide”. Where did that modern morality come from? Not the bible.

    I won’t argue that religion brings people solace, but I would suggest that there are ways of finding solace without so many divisive side-effects.

    As a side-bar, I should add that I pick the shit out of Christianity more than other religions because I’m closer to it and know it better – I’m still technically a Roman Catholic after all. However my feelings hold to the other “how to live guides” as well. Muslims, Scientologists, Mormons, the lot of them and their sky gods, space gods and pedophilia-justifying pornographers-in-charge serve more to harm than to help. We’d be *far* better off without the lot of ’em.

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  7. Roxanne:

    What is it about a creator that gives life purpose?

    You know what gives me purpose? Doing the best I can to make sure the people around me are safe. Accepting my friends and co-workers and neighbors despite their flaws(and NOT JUDGING THEIR LIVES AS USELESS IF THEY DISAGREE WITH ME). doing my best to make this world a better place, if even for a little while. I try to make people laugh, I try hard not to make them cry. I work hard to make sure the people of this province get what they need, to the extent of my power to do so. And you know what? I do it with no expectation of reward. Be it a fluffy cloud-home behind some pearly gates, or 43 virgins, or raisins (or whatever), I do all that I do because it is right, not because I’m holding out for a gift at the end. If it’s all over when I die (which I believe is the case), that makes it even more important that I do what I can to make an impact, or leave a legacy – even if it’s one single positive memory of me after I’m gone. My purpose, my hoipe, is to make the world better for those who follow me. I hope that people can live together in peace without inflicting dangerous ideas on others whether they want them or not.

    And, in terms of accountability, you have nothing to be proud of – you’ve got some other representative of the ‘family business’ ready to forgive you for everything and ensure that all the bad things you’ve done go away.

    I respect Paul’s opinion, I respect him as a man, and therefore I respect his choices in what he believes or does not believe – primarily because he makes an effort to understand and does not violate my boundaries – it’s all about mutual respect. If you’d spend less time trying to ‘save’ others and more time actually doing good and constructive things out of the goodness of your heart, without forcing your views on others, I might respect you, as well. As it stands, I do not.

    And before you whip out the oppressed-minority-you-are-doing-it-too, remember some specific facts about this situation:

    1. You came to US, we didn’t come to you – my writing can be avoided, if you try hard enough;

    2. You felt the need to comment specifically on this story, and I didn’t aim this at you – again, you voluntarily came here. I don’t force my opinion on anyone, they are free to read or not read as they choose.

    Anyway, none of this is seriously doing any good, is it? Your eyes are closed, hands over your ears, so replying to you is, in the end, pointless. But please, feel free to come back and disrespect me some more.

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  8. Kev: I was hoping you had seen the quotes around the word “guide”. Of course, the idiots will use the bible in its literal sense within their religion. From what I have read in the bible, it is basically telling everyone to live in a way that fosters good community, helping those in need, treat others as you would want them to treat you. I can beleive that 99% of christians will not stone their wives if they found out that they were not virgins. As a guide, the bible has many useful tidbits and on the most part religions do reasonably well with it. Since it is a guide one should not take it as literal law. Only stupid people believe in that. Thus why I support you and the rest of the koggers in your quest to highlight the absurdities of the religious kooks and the sheep who follow them.

    Flash: I do hope Roxanne replies, preferably with decorum and an open mind. I enjoy repectable and intelligent discussions. This is how everyone learns.

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    1. I did see the quotes around “guide”, but didn’t quite know how to approach them. You’re saying the Bible’s message can be broken down to “live in a way that fosters good community, helping those in need, treat others as you would want them to treat you”? Our society, even as it (too) slowly drifts away from its christian roots has enshrined those ideals in law. Other societies have, even those that do not have christian roots, have developed similar (though not identical) moral tenets. I would argue, as others have, that since these basic moral underpinnings appear in many places that they do not in fact come from the Bible, but rather are part of our DNA – part of the social nature of our species. If so, why on earth do we need the Bible?

      (I will say as an aside that there are societies that have very different, and in many cases infererior attitudes about the treatment of groups within them, like women and children. However it’s hard to see what women in the West owe the Bible for their rights and roles. At its most religious, women were much the inferior group in most western cultures. Only during the last couple of hundred years, as our cultures have drifted away from their more strictly religious base has their lot begun to slowly improve.)

      I have no problem with religion in any form, provided it stays private and has no influence on laws, education, or scientific research. I just don’t really understand why it’s necessary, even from a moral education standpoint. A person has the right to practice whatever silly beliefs they want, however these beliefs should always remain personal. That means no more getting in the way of scientific development by whinging about evolution, a case that’s been proven, and no more hand-wringing about homosexuality or gay marriage or anything to do with how other people live their lives.

      As a final comment, for what it’s worth, it makes me sad to think that a person needs the threat of hell to keep them from raping and murdering, but if that’s what it takes, fine.

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  9. Experience leads me to not expect decorum, even if an answer is forthcoming, Paul. I will admit to being quite angry as I wrote my reply, and I tried very, very hard to retain some decorum – whether or not I did, I leave others to judge.

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  10. With this discovery we see well where the bigfoot myth comes from. It seems to be a story successfully passed down through human history. Its us 4.4 million years ago. To bad life isnt the same now. I would love to climb the rainforest and gather food for my family for a job and live in peace with a family, which is becoming honestly scarce i believe even though its the axis of life

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  11. Oh it’s not just ‘a bit of a reach’, Kev – Plastic Man couldn’t stretch that far, unless Joe wants to explain how a myth could enter the human consciousness at a time when there were no human beings around. As for the “romance” of a tree-dwelling society – sorry, Flash, you’re a heck of a guy, but unless you’ve picked up some athletic/life skills since our last encounter (not to mention miracolously losing the need for glasses), your life as a tree dweller would probably be short, brutish and painful. The same goes for myself, of course, I’m perfectly happy in my cubicle, thank you very much.

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