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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Human evolution: From a note to a friend:

A friend had published an essay on controversies over human evolution, which prompted me to write:
One thing we might do well to keep in mind is t hat little is known about early humans - compared, say, to what we know about the Roman Empire.

As a result, the field is rife with speculation, but the speculation is often represented as fact. Changing opinion based on fragmentary information is represented as growth of knowledge in the field.

The problem is that one opinion rules out another rather than adding to a body of knowledge.

Just yesterday, I noted an article that claims that Neanderthal Man died out because homo sapiens ate them:
The controversial suggestion follows publication of a study in the Journal of Anthropological Sciences about a Neanderthal jawbone apparently butchered by modern humans. Now the leader of the research team says he believes the flesh had been eaten by humans, while its teeth may have been used to make a necklace.

Fernando Rozzi, of Paris's Centre National de la R├ęcherche Scientifique, said the jawbone had probably been cut into to remove flesh, including the tongue. Crucially, the butchery was similar to that used by humans to cut up deer carcass in the early Stone Age. "Neanderthals met a violent end at our hands and in some cases we ate them," Rozzi said.

Izzatso? Based on the above "vast mass" of evidence?

We don't know why the 'thals went extinct, and there are usually a number of causes of an extinction.And other scientists are not exactly buying into this theory. For one thing, it isn't clear why they didn't eat us.

People read this stuff because they are interested. No harm is done if no one takes it seriously. But some do because it supports their atheistic worldview, in the same way that some Christians take End Times speculation seriously. The former, however, are more likely to receive respect from academic sources, and that matters.


Intellectual freedom in Canada: What goes around comes around

The excellent Franklin Carter of the Book and Periodical Council of Canada sends the following re intellectual freedom in Canada.
If you are an American, please care. What goes around, comes around.

The debate over whether Canada's human rights commissions and their tribunals should investigate and punish "hate speech" continues unabated.


In the National Post, Joseph Brean reports Jennifer Lynch's and Richard Moon's latest remarks about the Canadian Human Rights Commission:


In the Calgary Sun, Peter Worthington comments on the federal commission:

In the Calgary Herald, an editorial writer comments on the federal commission:

In the Ottawa Citizen, Kate Heartfield comments briefly on Canada's HRCs:

In The Toronto Star, Haroon Siddiqui comments on the Ontario and federal conservative parties' thinking about the HRCs:

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Encyclopedia entries - brickbats and bouquets

A friend directs my attention to this Conservapedia entry on the intelligent design vs. unidrected evolution controversy.

It sure aims higher than this entry on me at Rationalwiki, about which a friend is pestering me to sue for defamation. But, as I keep explaining to that person, I am far more concerned about people who work for the government - on whose rage list I might well be. Why am I paying taxes for this?

Anyone who pays attention to RationalWiki presumably deserves what they get. But the government?

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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