August 2, 2014 | David F. Coppedge

Human Evolution News Redlines Silliness Meter

Did these evolutionists really think through their hypotheses?

Politics in the genes:  “Neither conscious decision-making or parental upbringing fully explain why some people lean left and others lean right,” researchers at the University of Nebraska said, according to Science Daily. “A mix of deep-seated psychology and physiological responses are at the core of political differences.”  Why, then, do many people use their minds to consciously switch, like David Horowitz, a former near-communist radical who is now a conservative icon?  The “researchers” might need to re-research their own biases and see if they are genetically determined as well.

White lies promote civil society:  “Lies can be good for society,” Sarah C. P. Williams announced on the AAAS feature Science Shot July 22.  “The mathematical model, the authors admit, is a simplified version of reality; it assumes a constant rate of lies throughout time and among all the relationships a person has,” she said of a paper published by the Royal Society.  “But the takeaway is clear, they say: Lies can be good for society.”  Of course, then, we should all become suspicious whether Williams is pushing fibs in order to keep her readership intact – like the National Enquirer does.

Testosterone and gender:  Robert Cieri, a biology graduate student at Duke University, has figured out why art started to blossom 100,000 years after modern humans appeared: testosterone dropped, leading to gentler faces and more cooperation.  Society began to bloom with art and culture as the men developed more feminine faces, he suggests (for example, see a 3-D ivory carving of a lion from Germany said to be 40,000 years old, reported on Science Daily).  Cieri’s notion of gentle faces leading to art and culture got good press on PhysOrg, which shows him measuring brow ridges on a hominid skull.  According to his hypothesis, brow ridges shrank as testosterone levels dropped.  Males became less aggressive and more feminine-looking.  A Cultural Revolution couldn’t be far behind.  Inexplicably, it would take another 40,000 years for them to develop farming and civilization.  Science Daily swallowed Cieri’s thesis whole, headlining, “Society bloomed with gentler personalities, more feminine faces: Technology boom 50,000 years ago correlated with less testosterone.

Cieri’s hypothesis hinges on testosterone, but other studies have shown that it’s a myth to link the hormone with male aggression—on the contrary, testosterone has been linked to fairness and honesty (12/09/09, 3/12/10, 1/24/14).  In addition, Cieri had no way of actually measuring testosterone levels or their receptors in his survey of human skulls.  Nor did he show a scientific link between testosterone and brow ridges (if they were related, one would expect males taking testosterone supplements these days to develop them).  Presumably, the females also had brow ridges when the males did.

He appears to be inserting his own 21st-century biases about what makes for a kinder, gentler face, then attributing his preferences to humans he could never interview in person.  It’s a mystery why Duke University promoted this work as a “senior honors thesis“, or why Cultural Anthropology published it; perhaps because it weaves a fig leaf for an embarrassing problem in paleoanthropology:

There are a lot of theories about why, after 150,000 years of existence, humans suddenly leapt forward in technology. Around 50,000 years ago, there is widespread evidence of producing bone and antler tools, heat-treated and flaked flint, projectile weapons, grindstones, fishing and birding equipment and a command of fire. Was this driven by a brain mutation, cooked foods, the advent of language or just population density?

The Duke study argues that living together and cooperating put a premium on agreeableness and lowered aggression and that, in turn, led to changed faces and more cultural exchange.

Aside from the fact that Cieri’s hypothesis is Lamarckian, the alternatives are clearly worse.  Attributing civilization to a brain mutation, cooked food, crowding, and a miraculous “advent” of a complex behavior like language surely qualifies for an Ignobel Prize, and maybe even first place at the Bah! Festival.

We regret seeing another young novitiate like Bobby Cieri welcomed into the Duke-dumb of King Charles.  Cieri is learning the art of storytelling in the Kingdom of Imagination.  Evolutionists learned well from Charlie.  He hated Lamarckism but found it very useful when his own theory broke down.

Political conservatives often complain that liberals get a pass in the media for scandals that would land a conservative in prison.  A similar thing happens here: if Darwin skeptics were to offer “scientific” hypotheses this lame, this illogical, and this stupid, there would be hell to pay in the secular press.  There would be no end of charges of pseudoscience, anti-science and religious agenda, and outcries if anything of the sort were to be taught in schools.  It’s good press fodder, though, if it promotes the totalitarian regime of King Charles.

The tiniest bit of reflection shows these hypotheses to be self-refuting.  If political bias is in the genes, so is scientific bias: we can dismiss the first article as nonsense.  If white lies are good, we have no reason to trust the second article.  And if kinder, gentler faces produced an artistic society, why don’t rabbits have art?  The stupidity of that third article is only topped by the alternatives suggested: the idea that civilization resulted from “a brain mutation, cooked foods, the advent of language or just population density.”  Anything but intelligent design!

Critical thinkers should note the use of the word “theories” in the quote above: “There are a lot of theories about why, after 150,000 years of existence, humans suddenly leapt forward in technology.”  A common evolutionary comeback to the creationist argument that “evolution is just a theory” (an argument we do not recommend, because of its ambiguity) is that theories in science are well-tested and well-founded, as solid as facts.  Not according to this quote!  They use the word “theories” for stupid suggestions that have failed the test of time (otherwise Cieri’s hypothesis would not have been entertained at all, well-tested theories being already available).  Remember that quote and use it the next time an evolutionist claims a theory is like a fact.  “Oh, so you believe your intelligence resulted from a brain mutation or cooked food?  Those are Darwinian theories.”

Where are the philosophers of science?  They are as quiet as the so-called “moderate Muslims” who say nothing as their extremist brethren fire rockets on civilian cities.  Anyone who respects science and reason should condemn as utterly ridiculous and harmful the notion of a brain mutation—a genetic mistake—causing art and civilization.  If cooked food is responsible (another Lamarckian idea), why are vegetarians who eat raw veggies good artists?  If crowds produce artistic civilizations (another Lamarckian idea), let’s just pack people together and watch them civilize; instead, they will most likely form mobs and fight each other to death with any artwork lying around.  And what is this “advent of language” about?  How did that happen?  Was it a miracle?  We should protest the Darwinians who use words as humanist shields behind which to lob their destructive theories against innocent readers.



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