— The Erimtan Angle —

Archive for the ‘Evolution’ Category

Dawkins and Mehdi Hasan

The well-known atheist Richard Dawkins debates the Al Jazeera journalist Mehdi Hasan, who is clearly out of his depth and apparently unable to imagine a world without purpose or meaning. Published on Jun 21, 2016.



Inside Story: A new member of the human family?

‘Scientists say they have uncovered the remains of a new human-like species in South African cave. Patrick Randolph-Quinney, Ashley Kruger and Briana Pobiner talk about the newly discovered Homo naledi. Published on Sep 11, 2015′.

Human-Climate Interactions and Evolution — Past and Future

‘CARTA – Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny: This symposium presents varied perspectives from earth scientists, ecologists, and paleoanthropologists on how climate may have shaped human evolution, as well as the prospects for the future of world climate, ecosystems, and our species. Elizabeth Hadly begins with a discussion about A Tipping Point: Using the Past to Forecast Our Future, followed by Naomi Oreskes on Human Impacts: Will We Survive the Future?, and Veerabhadran Ramanathan on Climate Change Mitigation: In Pursuit of the Common Good. Recorded on 05/15/2015′.

SciShow: Where Did Humans Come From?

The vlogbrother Hank Green tells us about new and confusing discoveries in the field of Human Evolution (26 Oct 2013).

The “study, mentioned by Hank Green, and “published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focused on a collection of 1,200 premolars and molars from prehistoric humans. Researchers identified landmarks on the teeth and then reconstructed the tooth shape to model what they thought would be the tooth shape of humans’ common ancestor with Neanderthals. They concluded with high statistical confidence that the common ancestor does not belong to the species previously suggested, including Homo heidelbergensis, H. erectus and H. antecessora”.[1]

But leaving the question of the common ancestor with the Neanderthals aside, ad as written by the Guardian’s science correspondent Ian Sample, the “spectacular fossilised skull of an ancient human ancestor that died nearly two million years ago has forced scientists to rethink the story of early human evolution. Anthropologists unearthed the skull at a site in Dmanisi, a small town in southern Georgia, where other remains of human ancestors, simple stone tools and long-extinct animals have been dated to 1.8m years old. Experts believe the skull is one of the most important fossil finds to date, but it has proved as controversial as it is stunning. Analysis of the skull and other remains at Dmanisi suggests that scientists have been too ready to name separate species of human ancestors in Africa. Many of those species may now have to be wiped from the textbooks. The latest fossil is the only intact skull ever found of a human ancestor that lived in the early Pleistocene, when our predecessors first walked out of Africa. The skull adds to a haul of bones recovered from Dmanisi that belong to five individuals, most likely an elderly male, two other adult males, a young female and a juvenile of unknown sex”.[2]  Tim White, an expert on human evolution at the University of California, Berkeley, stated convincingly that “Some palaeontologists see minor differences in fossils and give them labels, and that has resulted in the family tree accumulating a lot of branches. The Dmanisi fossils [now] give us a new yardstick, and when you apply that yardstick to the African fossils, a lot of that extra wood in the tree is dead wood. It’s arm-waving”.[3]

[1] Zoe Mintz, “Fossil Teeth Study Says Common Ancestor Of Neanderthals And Humans Belongs To ‘Some African Species’” International Business Times (17 October 2013). http://www.ibtimes.com/fossil-teeth-study-says-common-ancestor-neanderthals-humans-belongs-some-african-species-photo.

[2] Ian Sample, “Skull of Homo erectus throws story of human evolution into disarray” The Guardian (17 October 2013). http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/17/skull-homo-erectus-human-evolution.

[3] Ian Sample, “Skull of Homo erectus throws story of human evolution into disarray”.

Creationism Vs Evolution – Poll

A recent Gallup poll has some depressing facts about Americans and creationism, evolution, and divine intervention. Does the Bible trump science? Is God behind evolution? How many creationists are in America? Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur discuss on The Young Turks (9 June 2012).

The Scopes Monkey Trial, 1925

Formally known as The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes and informally known as the Scopes Monkey Trial—was a landmark American legal case in 1925 in which high school science teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violatingTennessee’s Butler Act which made it unlawful to teach evolution in any state-funded school.

This “legal precedent” has achieved a remarkable status today, due to the continued “debate” between Creationists and Evolutionists . . .


Atheist or Agnostic??? Reasonable or Faithful???

I just stumbled across this video on Facebook. It is the astrophysicist Neil De Grasse Tyson explaining his position on the vexing issue of religion: ‘Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson claims the title “scientist” above all other “ists.” And yet, he says he is “constantly claimed by atheists.” So where does he stand? “Neil deGrasse, widely claimed by atheists, is actually an agnostic”’.

Richard Dawkins, “Darwin’s Rottweiler”, famously adheres to the same position, namely that there are certain things which cannot be known – “known unknowns”, as it were – and that he therefore is happy to state that he is an agnostic, adding however, “I think the probability of a supernatural creator existing is very very low”.[1]  It seems to me that admitting that one cannot be sure about the existence of a supernatural deity is but a natural and even logical thing to do . . . The recent phenomenon of New Atheism has produced many outspoken and aggressive atheist who are always talking about their belief in reason, somehow forgetting that the human being is not a reasonable creature. Man is an irrational animal that in the course of its evolution has achieved self-consciousness and a remarkable mastery over the natural world. Following the writings of the famous biologist Desmond Morris, one could describe man as a primate that has acquired carnivorous habits as a result of its changed habitat. From a forest-dwelling ape, happily feeding on freely available vegetables and fruits, man’s ancestor entered the wide open landscape and into competition with carnivorous wolves and big cats to ultimately become the most successful predator dwelling on earth. As a living thing, man’s ultimate fixation is procreation and the acquisition of digestible foodstuffs. Far from being a paragon of rationality, man is constantly subject to his or her sexual urges. Man’s ability to be cognizant of his (or her) own existence does turn him (or her) into a most peculiar animal, but at the end of the day, man is but an animal, man is but a naked ape wearing clothes as a means of controlling his (or her) constantly present sexual urges . . . Man is not controlled by reason, but by his procreational compulsion to ensure the survival of the species and the continuation of certain genetic material . . . and, to paraphrase Freud, civilization is but the outcome of a constant struggle to control the human sex drive . . . or as phrased by Adam Christian, “Freud notes that civilization’s antagonism toward sexuality arises from the necessity work of building communal bonds based on friendship. If the activity of the libido were allowed to run rampant, it would likely destroy the monogamous love-relationship of the couple that society has endorsed as the most stable”.[2]

[1] John Bingham, “Richard Dawkins: I can’t be sure God does not exist” The Telegraph (24 February 2012). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9102740/Richard-Dawkins-I-cant-be-sure-God-does-not-exist.html.

[2] Adam Christian, “Chapter 5”, ‘Civilization and Its Discontents Summary and Analysis’. GrAdeSaver. http://www.gradesaver.com/civilization-and-its-discontents/study-guide/section3/.