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25 May 2009

Someone Made a Monkey Out of Charles Johnson

The past couple of weeks have been really bad for Charles Johnson. He’s been schooled on a number of things, not least of which was his drinking of the DHS “veterans are a bunch of potential terrorists” Koolaid which blew up in his face. Well, looks like something else has gone a little sour for him – this one being the “evolutionary missing link” that was unveiled with much fanfare late last week. Charles, of course, was ecstatic. Here was his chance to validate his blog’s existence – much needed since LGF 1.0 began its ever-quickening slide into irrelevancy. Here was his chance to rub it in the faces of those mean, stinky ol’ creationists who had done so much damage his Alexa rating by forcing him to ban them for disagreeing with him. Charles linked to the article about the original discovery, eschewing post-quote commentary, which seems to be his way of projecting an air of self-satisfied vindication on some question.

Charles began ever-so-slightly to backtrack a few days ago, linking to a blog post at the New York Times which was lamenting the “rock star” mentality with which “Ida” (so the fossilized lemur is named) was being approached, via press conferences and whatnot. Commenting on the post, Charles had this to say,

“I understand the consternation scientists feel when they see these kinds of public relations techniques being used; it may be the first time a media event like this has been staged to promote a scientific discovery. But as long as the science is good — and in this case, the team of researchers worked on the fossil for two years before going public, and did publish a paper in the journal PLoS One — I can’t get upset over the PR push.”

In retrospect, Charles should have noticed the warning signs – when actual scientists didn’t share his enthusiasm for the widespread media coverage, he should have known something was up. Indeed, some of these scientists were worried because it appeared even then that Ida wasn’t quite what she was being sold as. Yet, Charles and his crew persevered onward, as did others in the left-leaning-but-pretending-to-be-right-leaning blogosphere with a vested interested in peddling evolution. For instance, Hot Air’s Allah Pundit opined,

”Well, a missing link, not necessarily the missing link, although insofar as it seems to confirm Darwin’s speculation about transitional species, it’s a huge coup for fans of Uncle Charlie. I love the smell of fossilized monkeys in the morning. Smells like … victory. If anyone needs me, I’ll be at the bar drinking champagne with Charles Johnson.”

Very cute, but also very pre-mature.

Today, Charles’ latest installment in the soap opera that is Ida was handed down over at 1.0. Charles linked to this article at OneNewsNow - 'Ida' an extinct primate - and that's all

Charles quotes from Ken Ham,

The ministry has stated: “Because the fossil is similar to a modern lemur (a small, tailed, tree-climbing primate), it’s unlikely that creationists need any interpretation of the ‘missing link’ other than that it was a small, tailed, probably tree-climbing, and now extinct primate — from a kind created on Day 6 of Creation Week.

and then comments,

Aren’t you glad that’s settled?

Because, hey, simply pointing out that Ida looks almost exactly like a modern lemur shouldn’t be a reason to call the veracity of evolutionist assumptions about the fossil into question or anything.

Yet, for reasons not necessarily all that dissimilar from Ham’s on a technical level, it seems that several specialists in the requisite fields are more or less agreeing with him that Ida is far from proof of a “missing link” between anything, and that it might indeed just be a dead animal, and nothing more.

”A fossil skeleton touted as a "revolutionary scientific find that will change everything" was unveiled today at a press conference in New York City. With Mayor Michael Bloomberg and filmmakers in attendance, an international team of researchers introduced the world to "Ida," the skeleton of a primate that, the team claims, may be a missing link between primitive primates and humans. But many experts aren't so enthusiastic. "It's an extraordinarily complete, wonderful specimen, but it's not telling us too much that we didn't know before," says paleoanthropologist Elwyn Simons of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina….

“Many paleontologists are unconvinced. They point out that Hurum and Gingerich's analysis compared 30 traits in the new fossil with primitive and higher primates when standard practice is to analyze 200 to 400 traits and to include anthropoids from Egypt and the newer fossils of Eosimias from Asia, both of which were missing from the analysis in the paper. "There is no phylogenetic analysis to support the claims, and the data is cherry-picked," says paleontologist Richard Kay, also of Duke University. Callum Ross, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois agrees: "Their claim that this specimen should be classified as haplorhine is unsupportable in light of modern methods of classification."

Yeah, what he said.

Certainly, even by the evolutionists own criteria, the science supporting the “missing link-ness” of Ida is shoddy. This despite the fact that a few days ago, Charles Johnson was assuring us that the “science was good”, since, by gum, scientists had been working on it for two whole years, and it was published in a scientific journal!

Someone forgot to tell Charles that, as with the internet, you shouldn’t believe everything you read in scientific journals. Once again, we see Charles jumping on a bandwagon he thinks will vindicate and validate him, without fully understanding what it is that he’s stumping for.

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