Posted on March 13, 2013 in Darwin and Evolution, Dumb Ideas, Early Man, Education, Human Body,Media, Mind and Brain, Philosophy of Science
Early-man researchers continue to weave fantastical tales on flimsy evidence.
A story making the rounds now is that big eyes doomed the Neanderthals (see PhysOrg, Live Science, and the BBC News). Some Neanderthals had larger eye sockets than those of modern humans.
Even though they also had larger bones, muscles, and brains, some paleoanthropologists reasoned this way: bigger eyes take away brain power from “higher-level processing.”
Without sufficient higher-level processing, they might not have devoted as much time to social networking. So without the cave equivalent of Facebook, they couldn’t compete with the socially-adept newcomers, and died out.
This sounds preposterous given the many tens of thousands of years evolutionists believe they thrived over wide areas, cooked food, hunted successfully and made ornaments.
Another story on Live Science is claiming that it could make “evolutionary sense” for male humans to spend more time helping their sisters’ progeny than their own. This takes a key Darwinian principle of selfishness and twists it into a new counter-intuitive possibility, adding to criticism that Darwinism can explain opposite outcomes with equal ease.
And in a third story, Live Science reporter Tia Ghose suggested that Homo erectus must have been smarter than the average hominid to be able to use fire. The black figure accompanying the article was “surprisingly smart,” opening Ghose to charges of racism. Her expert of the day is Terrence Twomey, who reasoned that it takes a lot of brain power to keep a fire going.
Imagine all those smarts one million years ago. Why didn’t group fire-maintenance improve their social skills? And why didn’t they pass that on to the Neanderthals? These questions don’t matter to the early-man crowd, because apparently anything goes when it comes to fantasizing about human evolution.
John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist with more skepticism than most of his colleagues about just-so-stories like this, enjoyed a new book he reviewed in Nature by Marlene Zuk entitled,Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells us About Sex, Diet, and How We Live. He agrees with Zuk that much of what passes for early-man science is little more than “pseudoscience based on an imagined past.”