When Is a Primate a Human Ancestor?

first_imgBehold Aegyptopithecus zeuxis, an extinct fossil monkey.  It had a brain smaller than a lemon, smaller than that of modern lemurs.  Why, then, are the news media touting this as a human ancestor?    The new specimen of Aegyptopithecus is more intact and complete than previous specimens.  Two surprises were noted; the amount of sexual dimorphism (differences between male and female) was more than expected, and the brain size was smaller than expected.    This specimen, in fact, seems more un-human than before.  Despite the surprises, several news reports about this fossil are noteworthy for their degree of certainty that this particular ape belongs in the human family tree.  The surprises have not cast any doubt on the human-ancestry interpretation.    The headline on EurekAlert was perhaps the mildest, focusing at least some attention on the problems: “Brain, size and gender surprises in latest fossil tying humans, apes and monkeys.”  National Geographic was brash: “Human Ancestor had Lime-Size Brain.”  Ditto for Live Science: “Human Ancestor Had a Pea Brain.”    In these articles, one can look in vain for doubt that we descended from these extinct lemurs.  Jeanna Brynner wrote flatly in Live Science, “The skull belonged to a common ancestor of humans, monkeys and apes.”  National Geographic’s scrambled lineage confuses who begat whom: “apes, humans, and monkeys.”    How could the discovery of such a tiny brain be used as support for an evolutionary link to humans?  National Geographic explained, “The skull—of a species related to apes, humans, and monkeys—is evidence that the more advanced and bigger brains of African primates developed later than previously believed, researchers said.”You see how they do it, don’t you?  Evolution is never subject to any doubt.  Evolution is a fact.  This IS a human ancestor, got that?  Don’t even THINK of anything else.  Now that you are sufficiently brainwashed to follow the tale, uncooperative evidence can be molded to fit.  They just rearrange the plot a little: large brain size evolved a little later in the sequence that led to us.  Never would it enter their pointy-headed pea-brains that this extinct monkey, designated Human Ancestor by the Darwin Party, might be irrelevant to the family line of Beethoven and Einstein.    True to form, the news lemmings followed the script precisely (10/11/2006 commentary): (1) assume evolution, (2) observe a fact, (3) make up a story to fit the fact into the assumption.  The Darwin Party is so skilled at this fability (01/16/2007 commentary), we need to coin another new word, fogma, to describe it.  Fogma is dogma so thick you can’t see through it unless you’re outside it.  Once surrounded by fogma, it begins to represent all of reality—a shifting, shapeless mass of evolutionary change.  The only thing providing a sense of stability in all the fability is the voice of the Darwin Party announcer speaking through the fogma and interpreting the ever-shifting view.  (It is not politically correct to ask the announcer how he knows this.)    The Charlie and Tinker Bell Theater uses state-of-the-art fogma machines with Charlie’s secret recipe.  It produces the perfect colloid of mythoids (05/29/2003 commentary).  The stage hands aim the fogma so that it reveals only the things they want the audience to see – the props that fit the script at the right time – and conceals everything else.  Surprises are inserted occasionally to keep the audience awake.  After all, every good work of fiction needs a crisis.  But not to worry; the entire production crew knows how to bring the plot to a proper denouement.    This works well indoors under controlled conditions.  Take the fogma out into the real world, though, and the sunlight of evidence quickly dissipates it.  The design of the world then stands out in clear relief.(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img

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