Cooking Up Human Evolution, Or a Crock?
51; What’s cooking in human evolution stories? “Cooking is what made us human,” announced zoologist Richard Wrangham on New Scientist. “Cooking food allowed our ancestors to evolve our big brains, the zoologist argues, and created the gender roles still observed by most people.” The reporter apparently did not catch the embedded Lamarckism in that sentence. Clara Moskowitz on Live Science echoed the new story line with “Human Ancestors Were Homemakers.”
The discovery behind the headlines is shocking: an alleged Homo erectus dwelling site in Israel said to be 800,000 years old that shows evidence of subdivided areas for cooking and sleeping. “Yet this advanced organizational skill was thought to be a marker of modern human intelligence,” Moskowitz remarked. “Before now, the only concrete proof for divided living spaces dated back to only 100,000 years ago.” The site is in the Jordan valley north of the Sea of Galilee, near Lake Huleh, where waterlogged remains with excellent preservation have been known.
Incidentally, another study reported by PhysOrg claimed that our ancestors were eating cereal 100,000 years ago. A researcher from University of Calgary said, “The inclusion of cereals in our diet is considered an important step in human evolution because of the technical complexity and the culinary manipulation that are required to turn grains into staples.” And Ann Gibbons in Science, writing about hominid diet,2 placed the “origin of our genus Homo about 2 million years ago” – over two thousand times the length of all written human history. The reported Homo erectus find in Israel shows complex social organization at nearly 800,000 years – about eight times as far back as previously assumed. And where will they put the report on PhysOrg that says, “French find puts humans in Europe 200,000 years earlier” at a claimed date of 1.57 million years ago? Did the tool-making residents of Europe, who had been smart enough to migrate out of Africa, never figure out where the kitchen was for 730,000 years?
The researchers who reported the Israel site in Science said,1 “The designation of different areas for different activities indicates a formalized conceptualization of living space, often considered to reflect sophisticated cognition and thought to be unique to Homo sapiens.” The paper said this “implies advanced organizational skills” of the beings that lived there.
Rather than dwell on the problems this discovery causes for the human-evolution saga, reporters chose instead to dream up clever headlines. And the announcement was swamped by the cover story of Science that announced Ardipithecus as “Breakthrough of the Year” for 2009,3 complete with new artist rendition of a furry upright walking creature. (See 11/25/2009 and 10/02/2009 for earlier reports on Ardi). PhysOrg celebrated this “breakthrough” without question. It won out over nine other contenders dealing with physics, astronomy, genetics, cell biology and medicine.
1. Alperson-Afil, Sharon et al, “Spatial Organization of Hominin Activities at Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, Israel,” Science, 18 December 2009: Vol. 326. no. 5960, pp. 1677-1680, DOI: 10.1126/science.1180695.
2. Ann Gibbons, “What’s for Dinner? Researchers Seek Our Ancestors’ Answers,” Science, 11 December 2009: Vol. 326. no. 5959, pp. 1478-1479, DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5959.1478.
3. Editors, “Breakthrough of the Year: Ardipithecus ramidus,” Science, 18 December 2009: Vol. 326. no. 5960, pp. 1598-1599, DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5960.1598-a.
We’re going to keep pounding this drum till the rhythm sinks in: human evolution tales are dumb, dumb, dumb. Look at the brain sacrifice you have to offer to accept this tale: our ancestors were smart enough to organize their homes 800,000 years ago, but didn’t learn to ride a horse, invent a wheel, or build a town till a few thousand years ago. Actually, the Science paper claimed 790,000 years, but what’s a measly 10,000 years among storytellers? Of course, you can fit all of recorded history into that little rounding error. The evolutionists spend millennia like a thief spends dollars on a stolen credit card, or a Congressman buys pork without regard to the national debt.
Instead of feeling shock and remorse for the problems this claim makes within their own set of lies, the scientists are out parading Ardi (that 15-year-old news) as 2009 Breakthrough of the Year! Unbelievable. This mirrors the trumpeting of Copenhagen in the news at the same time the Climategate scandal has damaged the credibility of its whole reason for being (see Science Daily). Instead of laughing out loud (LOL), not one of the reporters of these human-evolution tales had the guts to ask hard questions or the presence of an independent-reasoning mind to doubt what the researchers were claiming. What has happened to science?
Just when you thought you heard it all, Live Science says “Chimps Master First Step in Controlling Fire.” What? Charles Q. Choi claims that because they don’t run away from it screeching, they must have lost their fear of it. It follows that the next step is learning to control it or extinguish it, and then the final step is learning how to start a campfire. Well, they’ve had six million years to work on this skill without much to show for it. Lots of luck (LOL). “These findings provide insight into how the earliest human ancestors first developed the ability to control fire, the thinking goes….” If this is called thinking, don’t ask what constitutes nonsense; LOL, LOL.