Friday, 23 October 2015

Yet another YEC organisation makes a hopelessly wrong attack on the Homo naledi discover.

I've already commented on AiG's laughably inaccurate claim that Homo naledi was a non-human animal. Now,  the Institute for Creation Research is attempting to explain away Homo naledi. Their argument? The fossils are actually a mix of human and non-human bones washed into the cave system that have been assembled together according to an 'evolutionary  bias' to create a hominin that never existed. This claim is even more risible than the AiG argument, as it ignores the fact that the researchers specifically ruled out water transport of the bones. Clearly, the ICR writers have not even read the Homo naledi papers, or if they did, they failed to understand it. Yet again, the YEC community are showing why they can never be trusted to comment on science, and why Christadelphians who uncritically recycle their arguments are bringing our community into disrepute.

Joel Duff, writing at Naturalis Historia does not take long to show why the ICR argument (unsurprisingly not written by an expert in palaeoanthropology but an in-house 'researcher' for ICR) is hopelessly wrong. It's also frankly insulting, but that sadly is par for the course for almost all YEC arguments, for it fails to recognise that Berger and his team did not think to exclude water deposition of the fossils:
But don’t you think that the researchers thought of this possibility already? Of course they did. Much of the original paper on the geological context of this cave system spent time discussion this very possibility. And what did they find? They found no evidence that these bones has been brought there by flowing water.  They examined many pieces of evidence none of which supported a flood origin of the bones. There conclusion was no mere speculation and their evidence against water transport must be accounted for.   Dr. Clarey makes no mention of their many reasonable tests of this hypothesis. Instead he leaves his readers with the impression that this simple explanation had not been considered. (Emphasis in original)
That disposes of the ICR claim that the fossils were washed into the caves. As for the claim that Homo naledi does not exist, but is a composite formed from the addition of human and ape bones, this again is flat-out wrong as Berger's team show that discrete fossil units such as hands have both primitive and modern traits in them:

Hand of and adult Homo naledi. Inset image is what is looked like as it lay in the cave. This is not a combined set of bones from two individuals but certainly the bones of one person.
Dr. Clarey makes the claim that the bones in the cave are a mixture of bones from two different species.  Did he read the original paper?  I don’t think he did.  The authors address this possibility and say why they don’t believe this is the case. What about the second set of papers that came out two weeks ago about the foot and hand of Homo naledi?  Did he consider those?  Once again, it seems clear he did not and he does not reference it.  An articulated (eg. bones found together not spread around) hand of an adult was found.  That hand has some bones described as homo-like and other bones that are more like Australopithecines.  To read Clarey’s article one would get the strong impression that the reason some bones are human and some are ape is that these were mixed bones of two species. But this hand was found all together!  (see image to right)  How much more obvious could it be that we are talking about one species and not two. The bones are found practically stuck together. Dr. Clarey does not inform his readers about these facts.  This hand is not imaginary but is very real. (Emphasis in original)
So, there you have it. Yet another example of YEC mendacity and intellectual dishonesty. This is why you can never trust anything YECs say, and why our community should have nothing to do with this sterile intellectual fraud.