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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Human evolution: Oldest human remains found in Israel?

Daniel Estrin reports for MSNBC ( 12/27/2010 ),
JERUSALEM — Israeli archaeologists said Monday that they may have found the earliest evidence yet for the existence of modern humans, and if the find is confirmed, it could upset theories of the origin of humans.

A Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said teeth found in the cave are about 400,000 years old and resemble those of other remains of modern humans, known scientifically as Homo sapiens, found in Israel. The earliest Homo sapiens remains found until now are half as old.

"It's very exciting to come to this conclusion," said archaeologist Avi Gopher, whose team examined the teeth with X-rays and CT scans and dated them according to the layers of earth where they were found.

He stressed that further research is needed to solidify the claim. If it does, he said, "this changes the whole picture of evolution."

The accepted scientific theory is that Homo sapiens originated in Africa and migrated out of the continent starting sometime around 80,000 years ago. Gopher said if the remains are definitively linked to Homo sapiens, it could mean that modern humans in fact originated in what is now Israel.
Well, then, we all have the right of return, I guess.

On the other hand, most of these types of claims, the early press notices are the last you ever hear of them.


From Uncommon Descent: Falls da rain. People are starting to talk openly about Darwinism’s failures

30 December 2010

New Peer-Reviewed Paper Challenges Darwinian Evolution
Jonathan M

Over recent months, papers challenging key elements of Darwinian theory — the kind of papers which are supposed not to exist — have increasingly been slipping through the net and finding their way into the peer-reviewed literature. One such paper, “Is gene duplication a viable explanation for the origination of biological information and complexity?,” authored by Joseph Esfandier Hannon Bozorgmeh and published online last week in the journal, Complexity, challenges the standard gene duplication/divergence model regarding the origin of evolutionary novelty. Read more here
The basic idea is
Bozorgmehr winds up drawing similar conclusions to those drawn by Behe in his recent Quarterly Review of Biology paper: While many mutations can, at first glance, appear to have resulted in evolutionary novelty (such as in the case of antibiotic resistance), closer inspection reveals that the selected adaptations do not, in fact, result in novel genetic components. Bozorgmehr explains that "[i]n many instances...a loss of function and regulation in a harsh or unusual environment can have a beneficial outcome and thus be selected for -- bacteria tend to evolve resistance to antibiotics in such a way through mutations that would otherwise adversely affect membrane permeability," (see Delcour 2009). One example cited in the paper concerns the acquisition of organophosphorus insecticide resistance in blowflies, which is conferred by a single amino acid substitution in a carboxyl esterase. But this insecticide resistance -- though adaptively selected -- is not a case of neo-functionalization, but rather a loss in enzyme activity (Newcomb et al. 1997).
(Links at destination site.)

I wonder if they’ll force this guy to recant. Maybe not. It would sound a bit tinny just now, wouldn’t it?

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:


Peeking through the Forrest to look at the trees ...

Christian Darwinists are fond of reassuring us all that Christianity and Darwinism are a natural fit. They don’t seem to have taught the chant to everyone yet. Old Earth creationist Stephen E. Jones has noted,
Barbara Forrest, has explored what she believes are the religious implications of neo-Darwinism and astronomy in her article, “The Possibility of Meaning in Human Evolution,” Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science 35.4 (Dec 2000), 861-889. She writes (p. 862, notes omitted):

We have established scientifically some disquieting facts: (1) human beings have evolved from nonhuman life forms, meaning that (2) at one time we did not exist, and that (3) according to paleontological and astronomical evidence, at some time in the future we shall cease to exist. Furthermore, from a scientific standpoint, there is no discernible reason that we had to evolve in the first place, and there is no guarantee that we shall continue to evolve successfully; more hominid species have become extinct than have survived. The price of such knowledge has been the gnawing question of whether human existence has genuine meaning if it was constructed with cranes rather than supported by skyhooks, as Daniel Dennett says.

The problem of meaning is easily resolved for those who embrace a preconstructed system of meaning such as religion. However, religion cannot help us find meaning in any honest sense unless it can assimilate the truth about where human beings have come from, and the only real knowledge we have about where we came from we have acquired through science.
It’s convenient for Forrest - who has been accused of making her living by bashing design principles without understanding them - that no religion other than Darwinism would thrive by assimilating the “truth” that she imagines to be established “scientifically.” Actually, Dennett, whom she mentions, doesn’t seem sure that the human mind really exists, a position which ends the problem altogether, I guess.


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