googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Science or Story-telling?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Science or Story-telling?

I’m often amused at what passes for “science” these days. There’s a new theory being proposed by Hans Thewissen, an anatomy professor at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, that modern whales may be descended from a tiny critter called Indohyus. From the artist's rendering shown here, you can immediately see the resemblance. //RKBentley chuckles// As I read the article, I saw that there is a lot of speculation and very little science that goes into such theories. I’ve pulled out a few quotes for your consideration.

“Whales may be related to deer-like beast.” Isn’t it amusing they call it deer-like? Wouldn’t that by itself suggest it is more like a deer than a whale?

“For years, the hippo has been the leading candidate for the closest land relative because of its similar DNA and whale-like features.” Once again, we see a bias in evolutionary research. Scientists have already decided that whales have evolved from terrestrial mammals. They’re just looking for a candidate to fit the bill: maybe it’s the hippo, maybe it’s the indohyus, or maybe it’s something else. There’s no obvious “progression” observed in the fossils. They’re trying to create one.
"Still, some researchers have been troubled that hippos seem to have lived in the wrong part of the world and popped up too recently to be a whale ancestor." Still more bias. You see, scientists have already decided where and when whales evolved - now we just have to find their ancestors there!

“The animal is a "missing link" to the sister species to ancient whales.” Have you even wondered what is meant by the term, “missing link”? It is used to describe animals that scientists expect to find but don’t (that's why they're called "missing"). It’s odd when you have scientists running around claiming evolution is a fact (!) while they’re still trying to find the evidence for it. “Whales evolved from land animals; as soon as we find the missing link I’ll prove it to you!” Has it occurred to them that maybe they're "missing" because they don't exist?

“An examination of its teeth showed that the land-dwelling creature spent lots of time in the water and may have fed there, like hippos and whales.” And like otters. You forgot to mention that otters spend a lot of time in the water. I think this animal looks more like an otter so I would be more inclined to believe it’s the ancestor of modern otters than whales.

“From [a] cache of bones he created a composite skeleton of a 48 million-year-old creature… [T]he specific positioning and shape of certain molars connects Indohyus to the earliest whales, which are about 50 million years old.” That’s curious. Am I to believe that a 48-million-year-old creature is the ancestor of a 50-million-year-old creature?

“The key finding connecting Indohyus to the whale is its thickened ear bone, something only seen in cetaceans.” I laughed out loud when I read this one. Couldn’t this also be interpreted as evidence the thickened ear bone is also found in other animals besides cetaceans? Indeed, if this animal is rejected as a relative of whales, it can no longer be said that the thickened ear bone is "found only in cetaceans."

“When danger approaches, it jumps in the water and hides.” How do we possibly know this? Did someone dig up a 48-million-year-old video of the indohyus along with its fossils? This is 100% speculation and 0% science.

“Thewissen said there are problems with not enough well preserved fossils, but he said what's left makes a strong case for Indohyus as the closest land ancestor.” Of course he still sees it as “strong” evidence; scarce fossil evidence has never deterred scientists in the least. See my previous blog on the fossil record.

This is a prime example of how many evolutionary theories are formed. It's their new "scientific method": 1) Have an idea how evolution happened. 2) Find a fossil. 3) Make up stories about how the fossil fits your idea from step #1. 4) Scientists then tie all the different stories into one great big story called the Theory of Evolution.

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