“In 1986, an article appeared in Discover magazine, another leading American science magazine, and Pat Shipman, is a paleontologist writing this, and the article begins this way:

‘An extraordinary 2.5 million-year-old skull found in Kenya has overturned all previous notions of the course of early hominid evolution. We no longer know who gave rise to whom – perhaps not even how, or when, we came into being.’

So, if I had a dollar for every time I have read in the scientific literature, that some discovery has overturned all their previous thinking about some aspect of evolution, I’d be a very wealthy man. These statements appear regularly in the scientific literature.

But they found this skull and now they don’t know who gave rise to whom, when, or how we came into being. So, it’s really thrown a wrench in their system. Here’s a chart from Donal Johansen who found Lucy, and Timothy White , another leading American anthropologist. This is before they found the skull. And they had some questions before they got to Lucy’s kind. But then they’re very confident in that some of Lucy’s descendants went off into extinction. The others eventually evolved into men. They have all that figured out except they do have a question about Neanderthals.

And then, they found that skull.

And now they don’t know who gave rise to who, when or how we came into being. Well, that other article in Discover went on to summarize all the fossil evidence for australopithecus up to 1986. And the article ended this way:

‘The bottom line of all this is that a great deal of work needs to be done. It’s a new era in paleonthropology. The things we thought we understood reasonably well, we don’t…No better argument can be made to support the time, trouble and cost of field work than this new skull. Like an earthquake, the new skull has reduced our nicely organized constructs to a rubble of awkward, sharp-edged new hypotheses. It’s a sure sign of scientific progress.’ [Pat Shipman, paleontologist, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. ‘Baffling limb on the family tree,’ Discover, September 1986, p. 89]

The word ‘hypotheses’ is a scientific word for ‘guess’. So, a sure sign of scientific progress. Well, it is progress. It’s progress when you find out that what you thought was true, is wrong. That is progress. But they are not getting any closer to the truth. They are getting more confused, as I’m going to show you.

Well, that was 1986.’

The lecture can be watched here.

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