I devoted some time in Behind The Cosmic Veil to exposing how statements made to the public by the scientific community are sometimes misleading and occasionally outright dishonest. The field of evolution seems more prone than others to these misleading imperial edicts. A few of the statements made by paleontologists in the AP article illustrate this unfortunate habit. The trick is that you have to look at what they say very carefully to catch them in the act.
Darrel J. DeRuiter of Texas A & M is quoted; “This is what evolutionary theory would predict, this mixture of Australopithecene and Homo.” “It's strong confirmation of evolutionary theory.” Richard Potts of the Smithsonian Institution is quoted; “[The features of these skeletons] force a rethinking of how traits are coupled together in human evolution.” “The more we learn about human evolution, the more we see that traits that must have happened together could occur separately”
Here are the hypocrisies that lay bare this scholastic sleight-of-hand. How about the statement, “It's strong confirmation of evolutionary theory.” What? Haven’t they been telling us for decades both in the classroom and in public forums that evolution has been firmly established? And yet, in the excitement of the moment, they let slip that they’re still in the process of confirming it? Do you feel violated yet? Read on.
This fuss over these skeletons is not about evolution in general, but about one of the two evolutionary anomalies that have been internally dubbed the “trade secrets”—disquieting facts that if discussed openly would be bad for business. The one in question is evolution’s difficulty in explaining the co-evolution of interdependent traits within a given species in terms of gradual, incremental changes as proposed by the theory. For example, a giraffe’s long neck is depended upon a beefed up circulatory system. In order for the creature to be viable, both traits had to evolve together in a synchronous and sensible (intelligent?) way. No advantage would accrue from one without the other, and would simply be a pointless waste of the animal’s resources. One of the most extreme examples of this is the whale, which is supposed to be a land mammal that transitioned to the water. Changes like legs into fins, the opening of a blowhole, development of a specialized nipple that can only work in the water in its current form, specialized skin, and a transition from normal milk (that would make feeding impossible underwater) to one that is the consistency of toothpaste, would have all had to co-evolve simultaneously in a coordinated and functional way. And yet, when you stop to think about it, any transitional form would not yet be able to function adequately in the water to justify the changes, while at the same time increasingly crippling the creature’s ability to function on land. Imagine a creature with half limbs and half fins trying to swim or hobble around on land, or a transitional nipple and milk that makes it challenging to feed young in either environment. How do any of these afford each successive intermediary creature with advantages over its predecessor? It cannot be properly explained according to the standard model of evolution.
The co-evolutionary traits at question in these skeletons are brain size and hip structure. A human-like, broad hip has always been found associated with an enlarged brain. In this case, the creature has a broad hip with a small brain. This is the “confirmation” spoken of, in that the two traits not being co-evolutionary appears at first to overcome this evolutionary anomaly by allowing each trait to evolve independently: “…we see that traits that must have happened together could occur separately”.
But there are still two problems. First, the brain of this creature was configured differently than other primitives in that its structure was more in line with an evolutionary path to modern humans. So a division between human-like hips and human-like brain structure is still not proved by this specimen to be distinct in nature, but only in size. Secondly, these two traits are not co-dependent as they are in most cases like the giraffe and the whale, so that these skeletons do little in overcoming this co-evolutionary enigma.
And finally, we have the statement, “This is what evolutionary theory would predict.” Huh? Wasn’t the discovery remarkable in that it displayed co-evolutionary features that were not predicted? I thought instead that the discovery forced “…a rethinking of how traits are coupled together in human evolution.” Which is it?
Don’t you wish you had a job where you establish your own standards by which the integrity of your work is measured, and then you can change them on the fly anytime you find it convenient? This is science? Sign me up!
The argument here is not against evolutionary theory, but against these kinds of scholastic shenanigans, which need to stop if we are to make real progress in finding the ultimate Truth.