Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

…I want to see Nature’s Engineering Degree!

Yet another installment of, “How an Incredible Design TOTALLY Supports the Theory of Evolution!”  Courtesy of Wired Magazine.

High-Speed Video of Locusts Could Help Make Better Flying Robots

Oh how I long for the day when the evolutionist crowd can manage to kick out some puff piece without anthropomorphizing inanimate objects or non-sentient critters.  But that day is not today.

Even though researchers have been studying how insects and other creatures fly for a long time, “we still don’t completely understand the aerodynamics and architectures of wings,” comments Tom Daniel of the University of Washington in Seattle

Because, you know, the best minds in modern science and engineering still struggle to understand just HOW all these things work, given that they all came about through random chance.  Design? We understand. Blueprints?  No problem.  Complex computer algorithms and microchips? Got it handled.  How a hummingbird really works?  Not a clue.

What locusts lack in agility, they make up for in distance: the four-winged insects are built to fly hundreds of miles at a time.

D’oh!  We should make this into a drinking game.  Any time an article nominally in support of evolution uses the words, “built” or  “designed” you have to take a swig.

Most earlier models of insect flight relied on stiff, straight wings, overlooking the important effects of flexibility and shape, says Thomas. “Engineers like these things simple,” he says. But this new study shows that wings with a little flop can actually get more air-pushing lift from each flap.

Hmmm.  Engineers learning from nature.  Amazing what that random optimization thing can do for you, eh?

Figuring out the details of how locusts and other insects fly may help researchers design tiny robotic fliers. “There is a growing interest in the exploration of micro air vehicles,” says Daniel. “Nature’s designs may be useful in creating synthetic ones.”

DRINK!

It is amazing to me that engineers can’t seem to recognize the work of a fellow designer.  It’s like someone who want’s to design a better timepiece looking at a fine Swiss watch for ideas, without ever acknowledging or addressing the question of the origin of the original design.

Whatever lets you sleep at night, I guess.

Despite the title, according to this article, there is no “.vs” between evolution and design.

Prehistoric mammal swung tail like baseball bat

Or..at least, we’re pretty sure, kinda, but it sounds like a good script!

The findings about glyptodonts — which looked like a cross between an armadillo and a Volkswagen beetle car — apply to dinosaurs that also had spiked tails, the team of researchers believes.

Any time you see the words, “researchers believe,” please feel free to replace with, “we’re pretty much just making this shit up as we go along.”  Same diff.

Glyptodonts lived in both South and North America, first emerging around 2.5 million years ago and going extinct 8,000 years ago, possibly due to hunting by humans.

Wait.  I thought that the idea that dinosaurs and humans lived together during the same period was solely the purview of a bunch of wacky creationist types?  I’m confused.   I thought “faith” and “science” can’t mix, and yet here we have these scientists rambling on about their beliefs.  Hmm.

The study, published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B, “reinforces the idea that in that (sweet spot) was something useful to cause more damage during an impact,” Blanco said, adding that glyptodonts might have evolved this defensive technique to help fight off “terror birds,” prehistoric South America’s dominant predator.

(Please apply the same grammatical rule to “might” as that proposed for “researchers believe.”)

And of course, my all-time favorite, the ubiquitous and seemingly unavoidable imputation of will and intent to the marginally sentient in deciding to “evolve”.  Can’t you just picture the conversation at one of their weekly staff meetings?

Uh, hey guys? GUYS?! Yeah, well, as I’m sure some of you have noticed, a lot of us have been getting knocked off lately by these freakingly hellish terror bird thingies.  And I, for one, am just flat stumped as to what to do about it.  Any ideas?

It is then that Walter, heretofor a fairly quiet and unassiming sort, rather tentatively raises a proto-metatarsal and tremulously suggests, “Well, uhm, I mean, you know, we COULD evolve a defense.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about trying to grow some spikes in the middle of my tail, maybe add a little bone density down there.  I’m pretty sure it would work.”

The assembled glyptodonts sit for a moment in stunned silence, and then suddenly all are shouting at once.  What an idea!  Walter, you’ve done it!  Walter for President!  Woo-hoooo!

Utter freaking genius, that Walter.

Glyptodonts might have therefore evolved their body armor, not to mention their spiked tails, to withstand this bird’s potentially deadly kicks.

Another of Walter’s breakthrough ideas.  One thing though:  Walter sort of left out the “how” of reprogramming his DNA in response to the external stimuli provided by Raptor-lite.  The key element in the logical disconnect of it all is that one word “therefore.”  Therefore” implies a cause-and-effect relationship, a stimulus -response action.  “I experienced this, THERFORE, I took this action.”  “I analyzed these facts, and therefore, I came to this conclusion.”  One might attempt to chalk it up to a meaningless grammatical slip or colloquialism, but this kind of thing is so prevalent in these kinds of articles that I don’t think we can’t call it a typo.  It reveals a trend in thought, a propensity for ascribing motive, ability and aforethought to a series of responses to environmental conditions or changes.

In addition to defense against predators, Blanco and his colleagues believe glyptodonts used their tails in fights against each other over territory, food, mates and more.

Ah yes, more “beliefs.”  They have to use the word “believe” here because they have no evidence for these assertions, other than, “Well, sounds kinda plausible to me based on other things I’ve seen.”  These scientists have no ability to observe glyptodonts in the wild, to observe their actual behavior, and so must make deductions and inferences based on mostly anecdotal evidence, no matter how sketchy.  Which, I’m told, is a methodology summarily dismissed as “unscientific” when attributed to Creationists.

Potato, putahto.

Hutchinson said he was surprised by “how the positions of spikes and nubbins on the tail clubs in a variety of species seem to line up pretty well with the mechanically most reasonable positions.”

He concluded, “That’s what evolution should produce, of course, but it’s always satisfying finding different kinds of evidence for sufficiently good biological design.”

I am continually amazed at dissonance reduction that goes on with these people, whereby the better the “design” of a species or an apparent adaptation, the better the case for the amazing efficacy of evolution.

I, for one, have to heartily agree with Mr. Hutchinson on this one.  I am continually gratified to find evidence of biological design in nearly ever aspect of our creation.  God’s hand in the amazing workmanship and incredible complexity of the life around us simply cries out in support of design.

It’s heartening to see the academic community finally coming around to embrace the same ideas.

Let’s run through that quote one more time.  “Evolution should produce…evidence for sufficiently good biological design.”

That Walter.  What a freakin’ genius.  Here our most advance scientists struggle to map and understand DNA and the human genome, and yet, millions of years ago critters like Walter had already figured out how to redesign themselves to not only be more resistant to predators, but to optimize their design in a variety of insightful and provocative ways.

So, in review, evidence of design supports the theory of evolution.  No further discussion required, and certainly no alternate or competing theories need be entertained.  Moving on…

UPDATE:

Found this from one of the auto-links on this post:

However, Kenneth Miller does give some insight on where the attack is coming next. It is teaching the “controversy.” A controversy that is wholly politically manufactured and not scientific. It also comes from an attempt to discredit evolution by holding it to an impossible burden of proof. The reason is that it is impossible is that the people in the movement take it as an article of faith that evolution must be false because it contradicts their religious view of an inerrant religious text or their interpretation of it. That is not a rational standard, but rather an irrational one which is why Kenneth Miller’s remark that everything is at stake is not an understatement.

Replace creationism with evolution, and science with religion:

It also comes from an attempt to discredit creationism by holding it to an impossible burden of proof. The reason is that it is impossible is that the people in the movement take it as an article of faith that creationism must be false because it contradicts their scientific view of an inerrant scientific [theory] or their interpretation of it. That is not a rational standard, but rather an irrational one which is why [Kenneth Miller’s] remark that everything is at stake is not an understatement.

Evidence must only be examined within the context of evolution.  Evidence can never disprove evolution, only modify the theory.  Any other approach is apparently holding science to an impossible standard, the very approach they take with creationists.  They are blind to their own hypocrisy.

Winter storms stretch to New England

The storms have cut power to tens of thousands of homes, glazed roads and been blamed for at least five deaths.

Thus, of course, further emphasizing the desperate need for drastic measures to combat global warming, such as spending millions of the creation of the position of  a global warming “czar”, with the requisite increase in bureaucracy by creating a new “federal department” to develop a national global warming strategy.

So, do you spend money to create a panel of “experts” to study a nebulous, ill-defined bugaboo called global warming…?

Or…do you instead “spend” that money in the form of reduced taxes on heating oil to provide real help to real people freezing their collective arses off?

I guess it depend on how “progressive” you are.

In the previous post, commenter John Emerson took me to task for impugning the integrity of the people of Minnesota, specifically the voting review board involved in the recount process between Franken and Coleman.

However, the crux of my post was not so much that the people of Minnesota were a bunch of neanderthals, but rather, that the Dems would be using tactics similar to that used in Florida during the Bush/Gore count-off, and the blatant malfeasance shown in the 2004 Washington State governor’s race to keep “disovering” votes until the preferred candidate wins.

And so today I read this little snippet over at Gateway Pundit, who has been following this whole electoral abortion closely:

Currently the board is determining voter intent in disputed ballots.

Voter intent?!  This is exactly what drove my snarky comment about counting smudges and coffee stains as votes.  All throughout the ridiculous and appalling Florida recounts, there was great emphasis on determining voter “intent,” as in, it didn’t matter so much what the ballot actually said, it was much more important to determine what the voter MEANT to do.  After the fact. Without the voter present.  Based on nothing more than the scuffs and scratches on a paper ballot. 

Did they call in professional personality analysts, FBI profilers, even psychics from the 1-800-Guess-My-Vote hotline?

No.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Emerson included of course, the term “voter intent” needs to be violently expunged from the American lexicon with extreme prejudice.  It is not discrimination to discount a ballot because the voter made a hash of it.  It is not unfair to shred a ballot with a missing or unreadable mark.  The ballot is destroyed.  It is dismissed, it is not counted. 

When I take an exam in school, and fail to mark my bubble sheet in the right bubble, or through erasing and smudging and doodling make it difficult to impossible to read what answer I actually chose, does the teacher spend hours going over my exam to determine which answer I really intended to give?  No.  I get the question wrong.  The quickest, easiest and fairest solution, applied uniformly to everyone.  Yeah, sure, it sucks for me, but maybe next time I’ll try a little harder to follow basic instructions on how to fill out the form.  Unless, of course, it was my INTENT to intentionally provide an ambiguous answer in hopes that the teacher might “guess” my way.

The Canvassing Board faces a difficult task in divining voter intentions. It is very difficult to determine how a voter meant to vote simply by looking at what might be stray marks on the ballot.

That’s right.  It is very difficult.  Key words here are MIGHT and BE.  You don’t know for sure WHAT THOSE MARKS MEAN.  As a matter of fact, IT. IS. IMPOSSIBLE.  There is absolutely NO WAY of determing what the “intent” of someone was in filling out a certain ballot days and weeks after the fact.  So the answer is that you DON’T EVEN TRY.

I am especially irked by the highly appropriate use of the word “divining:”

 13. to discover or declare (something obscure or in the future) by divination; prophesy.
15. to perceive by intuition or insight; conjecture.

Also know in scientific circles as a “wild-ass guess.”

Rather than crafting convoluted rules and standards about voter intent, we should be adhering to equally rigorous and objectively enforced standards for what qualifies as an acceptable ballot.  Smudges and smears do not count.  Hanging chads do not count.  A stray pencil mark somewhere in the general vicinity of a candidate does not count.

Anything is else complete gamesmanship, and is a corruption of the electoral process.  You can claim all the nobility you want, with a lofty air and a sniff of the nose aver with conviction that “every vote should count” and that you are just trying to serve the greater good.  The fact is, you’re not fooling anyone.  Truth is, every vote SHOULD count, but not every vote does.  Only those votes which are properly cast should.

 And John?  Don’t tell me that 100 votes magically found in the back seat of car are statistically insignificant when Franken is now forecast to win by only 78 votes? 

Here’s an interesting discussion threat with more details.

Region paralyzed by snow

Snowplow crews worked furiously Thursday against a wintry onslaught that dropped record amounts of snow over the Inland Northwest, repeating a pattern left from the brutal 2007-’08 winter.

At nearly 2 feet, the snow was so deep that it forced Spokane crews to focus on major arterial routes in an effort to keep the city from being completely choked.

Stores and government offices closed. Workers stayed home on the advice of authorities on both sides of the state line.

Forecasters warned that there may not be much time to dig out, and the work will have to be done in single-digit temperatures today and Saturday.

Another snowstorm could bring 5 inches or more Sunday with yet another storm in the offing for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Spokane ended up with 23.3 inches over 34 hours ending at 4 p.m. Thursday. Coeur d’Alene had 25 inches by Thursday morning. Other locations had more.

It was the most snow received in both Spokane and Coeur d’Alene in a 24-hour period since record-keeping began.

Now, I’m not an atmospheric scientist, or a Nobel-laureate sitting on the UN Climate Change panel, and I didn’t help invent the Internet, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.  Okay, not really.  But I did have a nice continental-style breakfast this morning, so that ought to be close enough.

See, I’m kinda wondering how the Global Warming “exspurts” are going to be able to cook these numbers to make it fit the trend graph?  Here in Germany there are having more snow in my area than they’ve had any of the last five years.

So, let’s recap shall we?  NASA basically puts a stake into global warming’s liver by (rather grudgingly) revealing that a great deal of the hysteria around globular varmening is based on completely bogus data.

Shrill chest beaters declare that if the polar ice cap melts, then sea level will rise by a CATASTROPHIC 20 feet!  Except that, the North Polar ice cap is completely free floating.  There is no land mass underneath.  It is, in effect, one giant ice cube.  Which if it all melted, would result in a net DROP in sea level due to some pretty basic hydrodynamics.  Jr High chemistry and physics (the Archimedes Principle – Google it!).  But it doesn’t read as well in the headlines that way.

There is snow in southern California.  Las Vegas.  The ever-mutha-frickin’ D-E-S-E-R-T.  So how do gaseous, corpulent blatherskites like Al Gore still get paid exhorbitant speaking fees to climb up on stage and pound a pulpit about the coming Global Warming CatastropheTM?  Why are they not laughed off the stage?

The fact that there is such an overwhelming and ever-growing sea of evidence completely debunking the severity, impact, and/or causality, nay, the very existence of anthropogenic global warming, and yet it is still heralded by the likes of  Barack Obama as one of the single greatest concerns facing our nation and world today, suggests to me that there is a great deal more going on here than noble, well-intentioned science.

It’s about pushing the g/w agenda in order to force compliance with an ever more extensive and intrusive series of rules and regulations and policies designed to centralized authority, remove personal autonomy, and destroy nationa sovereignty.  For our own good, of course.  Actually, no.  For the good of the earth.  Mother Gaia and all that.  Your own personal well-being be damned.

And if you can’t see that, you deserve what is coming to you.

Climate change scientists and researchers who rely on Government grants for their livelihood, are apparently insisting that more government grants are needed to adequately study climate change.  Shocking, I know.

Scientists: U.S. not prepared for severe weather, climate change 
{insert sirens, screaming, clips of black and white 1950’s B-movie disaster films, giant mutant ants eating police cars, etc.}}

Wow.  I’m shocked I tell you, just shocked!  In related news, foxes call for building of more hen houses for them to guard.

Now, I know the link is from “just a blog,” but it’s from a CNN blog, right?  Doesn’t that make it subject to all those multiple layers of fact checking and all that?  And yet this thing is the single greatest testament to the maddening doublespeak and vague obfuscation used so often by the global warming climate change nuts that I’ve seen in a while.  But wait, it get’s better…

Scientists cannot fully understand or deal with the impacts of climate change without the proper political leadership, and without funding for scientific observation and computing.

Scientists cannot fully understand climate change without the proper political leadership.  Just sort of savor that for a minute; let it roll around the ganglia and sink in a bit.  The trained, educated, Masters and PHD holding elite of the intelligentsia are struggling to understand climate change because they don’t have the right kind of POLITICAL leadership?  Huh?!

The scientists are making five recommendations they say will improve the country’s resilience to severe weather and climate change

Because without a full-on media blitz and complete with streaming video and annoying pop-up ads, the American people will be left to just blindly deal with seasonal weather extremes like they’ve been doing for the last 230+ years.  And the price tag for all this?

The group says lawmakers will need to add about $9 billion to the current $10 billion that is budgeted over the next five years.

But wait a minute!  I thought global warming climate change was a forgone conclusion, a done deal, an immutable fact right up there with evolution and the 9/11 coverup?  You mean {{shocked gasp}} there are things we don’t know?  Can’t predict?  Are inadequately measuring?  OH. THE. HORROR!   And then of course, from the Blinding Flash of the Obvious department, we get this little jewel:

Whether it is hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, floods, snow, or drought, 75% of natural disasters around the world are triggered by weather and climate.

That’s right folks, you heard it here first.  Tornadoes, floods, snow and drought are caused by…wait for it…WEATHER.  And not just weather, but EXTREME weather.  Weather we will quite simply be unable to understand or predict without 19 Billion dollars in additional federal funding.

But wait, I say again.  I thought we had a “consensus” from the “majority of scientists” throught the “global scientific community” penning all sorts of strident missives about the types, severity, and near imminence of doom based on global warming climate change?  Did this lady not get the memo about “don’t mess with the meme?”

“Frankly, we think this is one of the most pressing problems facing humankind, but it just happens to be on a longer scale than a lot of problems our country faces,” said Fellows.

That’s right.  We need to be long-visioned about this, invest in the future, prepare our country for the worst.  Except when it comes to drilling for oil, because we won’t see any results for 7-10 years, you know.

So, in conclusion, global warming climate change is a confirmed fact, even though we don’t know enough about it because Washington has short-changed us on the funds.  And we can predict all sorts of dire consequences to global warming climate change, complete with fancy graphs and pie charts, and cool multi-media morphing animations showing jungles getting swallowed up by deserts, but you know, we can’t do REALLY cool graphs and 3D CGI graphics and cutting edge holographic surround-sound experience-based “teaching tools” at museums and theme parks, because the Government is more worried about funding the military and feeding the poor, and such.  Short-sighted mouth breathers that they are.  We must act now!

I dearly love the fact that in the entire linked article, the words “global warming” are nowhere to be found.  This term is now tres passe’.  Why, you ask?  Because in my neck of the woods, in Spokane, WA, they’ve experienced one of the coolest summers on record.  The temperature this week has been in the 50’s, with rain and hail.  In AUGUST.  So the term “global warming” rings a little hollow, and now it’s “climate change” and “extreme weather.”

And “give us more funding or we’ll all die.”  Subtle, guys.  Subtle.

UPDATE:
Me, I question the timing.  I have this vague suspicion that the thinly veiled suggestion of stronger “political leadership” in the area of climate change might, just MIGHT be meant to suggest that we elect someone a little stronger on the whole global warming thing than, perhaps oh say, the Republicans have been.  Cuz, you know, CNN is so fair and balanced and all that.

Intelligent design costs prof his job
Regents reject tenure request without evidence, testimony

The Discovery Institute said it also had reviewed the e-mail record regarding Gonzalez’ teaching, and found “an orchestrated campaign conducted against Dr. Gonzalez by his colleagues, with the intent to deny him tenure because of views he holds on the intelligent design of the universe.”

As WND reported earlier, Gonzales was one of three members of the ISU faculty denied promotion or tenure of the 66 considered at the time.

The rejection followed earlier opposition to his work because of his acknowledgment of intelligent design. In 2005, three ISU faculty members drafted a statement and petition against intelligent design in the science curriculum that collected 120 signatures.

“We … urge all faculty members to uphold the integrity of our university of ‘science and technology,’ convey to students and the general public the importance of methodological naturalism in science, and reject efforts to portray intelligent design as science (my emphasis),” the statement said.

Soooo…get into an discussion with an evolutionist about ID, and they will invariably trot out the, “SHOW ME THE PROOF!  GIVE ME SOME EVIDENCE!”  And yet, time and again Universities engage in this kind of intellectual gatekeeping , effectively ensuring that you CAN’T build a case for ID, because the powers that be have made an arbitrary decision that it’s “not science.”

So, they require evidence, while preventing professors from presenting any.  They want scientific evidence, but won’t examine any evidence from an ID guy because it’s not science.  I believe that’s called a “catch-22.”

Gigantic fossil rodent discovered

The authors say the animal would have lived alongside carnivorous “terror birds” and sabre-toothed cats.

“If you are a rodent you cannot run so well so you would have had to fight with these predators,” said Dr Rudemar Ernesto Blanco of the Institute of Physics in Montevideo, Uruguay, one of the authors of the paper.

“It might have reached this size to protect itself.”

To protect itself.  Yet another example of one of my pet peeves when dealing with evolution.  The idea that the species somehow adopted a certain form “in order to” respond to its environment.  As in, due to the size and number of predators, this rodent made itself larger to increase its own survivability.

Perhaps it was merely a symantical gaff, but, this sort of thing seems to happen quite often.  Why not just roll with the idea that at some point in pre-history, there grew some pretty honkin big rodent critters?  Why try to fold in this idea that the size was some situational or environmental “reponse?”

And, as I have repeatedly ask, can someone please point to the mechanism whereby this giant wombat someone “detected” the presence of large predators and thereby proceeded to reprogram its own DNA to grow larger in response?

Okay, so me, being the easily confused sort of individual that I am, I’m having a bit of a hard time figuring out how you get awarded the Nobel Peace for a PricePrize for “raising awareness about the grim, awful, terrible, inevitable, crushing, life-destroying, people-caused specter of global warming,” not too long after your “acclaimed documentary” gets a rousing kick in the nads for using bad science and overstating its claims.

The Nobel Prize – just one step above a star on Hollywood boulevard. 

 Of course, these are the same jokers that gave one to Yasser Arafat.  You know, that guy from the “religion of peace.” Also known as the “PLA” or “Hamas.”

Tell me again how the NPP is somehow non-partisan?  It’s supposed to be, but is it really?  Or does it, as an unofficial sycophant of the UN, merely seek to lend credibility to the feel good cause of the day, rather than acknowledging genuine accomplishment?

It’s starting to seem a little like my kid’s soccer team, where at the end of the year EVERYBODY gets a trophy for “participating.”  Time was, you got at the most a certificate for participating, and there were actual awards for the exceptional players; most inspirational, team leader, most improved, etc.

But when everyone gets a trophy just for showing up, they really don’t mean all that much anymore, do they?  All you’ve done is lower the bar, not raise expectations.

So do I put Mr. Gore in the same category?  Sorta.  To me, he’s an ideologue who has found an issue around which he can rally a following.  Mr. Gore may wholeheartedly believe in what he’s saying…but that doesn’t mean that he is right. To me, rather than raising an alarm, he serves more as a scare-monger using a high-visibility issue to push an agenda.  The radical environmentalists have long been working to impose penalties on industrialized nations…mostly western, capitalist nations mind you. 

Things like the Kyoto Protocol and other such “legislation” are, at their core, not really about saving the planet, but more about centralizing ever increasing aspects of our national sovereignty under the auspices of UN controls and mandates.  When we are governed by UN laws….we are governed by UN laws, not our own.

Those who seek to bring about this infusion of foreign control have found a highly effective avenue to do so via the environmental movement.  As much as people use, “but what about the children!?” to marginalize dissent, something long the lines of, “But don’t you care about the environment?!” can be every bit as effective in appealing to emotion-based responses, often (and deliberately) at the expense of a reasoned examination of the facts.

So, rather than contributing to world peace, I think Mr. Gore and his movement are accomplishing just the opposite.  By painting an overly bleak and even catastrophic outloook, by carrying on about the coming wars and conflicts over ever-diminishing supplies of resources, he and his cronies could very easily create a crisis where none need exist.

The simple reality of it is that the countries best suited to find solutions to such problems, and fill the needs of those who are genuinely in danger, are the successful, prosperous, and affluent free-market capitalist countries, who, while consuming the largest portions of the resources, are the most capable of distributing their products worldwide.  Yet activist groups and intrusive environmental regulations such as Kyoto seek to bring the heaviest tax on those whose production is the most efficient, and the most environmentally friendly.

Western countries take the earliest and heaviest hit by these groups not because they are the worst polluters, but because they are the most accessible.  They are an easy target, and they’ve shown a tendency to roll over early to these special interests, which only ensures that they will be targeted again with the next, tighter level of restrictions. 

To me, the Nobel Prize has become about lauding or approving of those who best conform to the socially approved meme, whether or not they’ve actually contributing anything meaningful to the furtherance of world peace.

So, in that respect, I guess Al Gore is highly qualified to receive the award.  Kudos, then.

UPDATE:

Yeah, what she said.

And him.

And them.

This is almost too easy.

Skull Suggests Two Early Humans Lived at Same Time

Surprising fossils dug up in Africa are creating messy kinks in the iconic straight line of human evolution with its knuckle-dragging ape and briefcase-carrying man.

The new research by famed paleontologist Meave Leakey in Kenya shows our family tree is more like a wayward bush with stubby branches, calling into question the evolution of our ancestors.

So you suddenly have some clear distinctions between the evolutionary paths of the human species, where before a linear and intrinsically linked sequential development had been held as near immutable for decades. Hey, you know the reason that it’s always been so hard to find that “missing link” guy?  Because. Maybe. It. Was. Never. There.

They have some still-undiscovered common ancestor that probably lived 2 million to 3 million years ago, a time that has not left much fossil record, Spoor said.

Yes. Absolutely. Continue to insist dogmatically on a common ancestor, despite the fact there is, by your own admission, no actual physical evidence for it.

This is and will continue to be my biggest beef with the anti-creationists/acolytes of the Temple of Evolution.  The hypocrisy.  The foundational tenet of evolution is a common ancestry, out of which sprang the multi-varied species of our world through all that adapting and responding and evolving into more complex forms (in violation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics).  Therefore, evidence is categorized and framed only within that frame of reference, because it must be in order for the theory to remain valid.  Faced with two concurrently developing species, rather than sequentially as previously assumed (declared, heralded, decreed, whatever…), you therefore INFER an ancestor who existed even earlier than previous estimated, despite the lack of evidence, because it must be true if the theory is to remain viable

You establish as “fact” that which must be true in order for your worldview to conform to your pre-established expectations, despite being unable to provide any evidence of it.  And this is different from the creationists how?

Someone, somewhere, I believe, said that creationism would remain in the realm of religious faith and wishful thinking until the creationists/ID folks could provide solid scientific evidence of a creator or design influence.  So, where does that put the evolutionist in light of this imaginary common ancestor which now MUST exist, where before it didn’t, and despite any “solid scientific evidence,” simply because evolutionary theorists demand it in order to preserve their canon manifesto holy book St. Darwin of Galpagosea  theory?

Ah, you poor misguided soul, they say as they sadly shake their collective heads with the long-suffering indulgence of a saint.  The evidence for the common ancestor is clearly the two simultaneously developing offshoots, and if you weren’t such a wild-eyed, unscientific, Bible-thumping creationist, you’d be able to see that. Tsk, tsk, tsk.  You know, despite the fact that previously the evidence for a common ancestor was a single, unbroken line of evolutionary development.  Now, away with you, neophyte!  Do YOU have a PHD? NO?  Well then, trouble me no more with your plebian babblings.

I believe someone, somewhere called that “shifting the goalposts.”  Another quote, in chuckling about those wacky creationists, said something to the effect of:

If a fossil is discovered to cover a gap between two species, they’ll shout – “Look, there are two gaps now, on either sides of the fossil”

Uh, yeah.  And if a gap is discovered between two species, some people say, “Look, there must be a common ancestor we don’t know about 2 or 3 million years ago.”  I can TOTALLY see the difference there.

Overall what it paints for human evolution is a “chaotic kind of looking evolutionary tree rather than this heroic march that you see with the cartoons of an early ancestor evolving into some intermediate and eventually unto us,” Spoor said in a phone interview from a field office of the Koobi Fora Research Project in northern Kenya.

That old evolutionary cartoon, while popular with the general public, keeps getting proven wrong and too simple, said Bill Kimbel, who praised the latest findings.

And yet that is what continues to be published in textbooks.  

Scientists hadn’t looked carefully enough before to see that there was a distinct difference in males and females.

Why? Because they needed an intermediate species to help fill gaps in the fossil record.  And so in with an emphasis on supporting the prevailing meme, they failed to properly (read: objectively) analyze the information.  Oooh. Ouch.  MeOW.

All the changes to human evolutionary thought should not be considered a weakness in the theory of evolution, Kimbel said. Rather, those are the predictable results of getting more evidence, asking smarter questions and forming better theories, he said.

Color me shocked.  Shocked, I tell you.  Let me translate:  “Despite how completely this throws our understanding of evolutionary theory into a freakin chaotic mess, let’s make sure that we don’t abandon our fundamental premises.  And make sure that we color these finds in shades of ‘refining’ evolutionary theory, rather than having to basically start over from scratch when it comes to human evolution.”

Again.  Evidence can only be examined in the context of evolution.  If the evidence rocks your world, you change your theory….of evolution.   You come up with a new theory…of evolution.  In the proudest tradition of the scientific method, you take a cold, calculating, objective look at the data, and smoosh the theory around until it fits the evidence, or you “interpret” the evidence to fit the theory.  As long as the new shape still looks like evolution.

Because it’s the only game in town….and the people with the power to do so intend to make sure it stays that way.