Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Now Lucy!

As Ricky would say, Now Lucy! Hammertime says in his post Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds?:
For those not in the know, the above song by the beatles was a sort of homily to the joys of LSD. LSD is a hallucinogen, which means you see crazy stuff when you take it.

Perhaps that is what Donald Johanson, the man who discovered "Lucy", was on when he made his assessment. Somehow, in contradiction of what other similarly-minded archaeologists had claimed, Mr. Johanson said that Lucy was the ancestor of humans.

A quick examination of the find shows that he 'built' his model of Lucy from two separate fossil finds, which happened to be 60 to 70 meters [over 200 feet] lower in the strata and two to three kilometers [1.24-1.86 miles] away from each other. Thus the model is immediately suspect. Throw in that many paleontologists (not just creation scientists) believe that Lucy was a knuckle walker, not upright as Johanson claimed, and you have a suspicious position indeed.
Now, I'm no expert, but I can Google with the best of them. Here is the rebuttal:
Creationists have been making the claim that Donald Johanson found the knee joint of "Lucy," a 40%-complete skeleton of the species Australopithecus afarensis, in a location "Sixty to seventy meters lower in the strata and two to three kilometers away" (Willis 1987). They have sometimes gone on to add the claim that "Only under questioning did [Johanson] admit that the knee was found over a mile from Lucy. To the best of our knowledge this admission has not appeared in print!" (Willis 1987; emphasis in original; Also see Brown 1989a, p. 44) The claim is used by creationists to show that (a) evolutionists are dishonest and (b) "Lucy" did not walk upright. It successfully shows neither of these things, because it is false. (Even if it were true, it would not demonstrate (b), for reasons given in Lippard (1989-90)--the knee joint is not the only evidence of bipedality in A. afarensis.)

The claim is not only false, it is clearly shown to be false in Johanson's published writings about "Lucy" (e.g., Johanson and Edey 1981, ch. 7-8) and it has been pointed out repeatedly to its proponents that it is false. Despite this, none of the major proponents of the claim has publicly retracted it.
Most of the rest of the article goes on how, despite the obvious proof Willis was wrong on his claims they were unable to get him to retract his statements. I suggest anyone reading this to look at the two arguments from the creationist and the evolutionist and decide for themselves who seems reasonable and who seems over the edge.