Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Updating History 

I've recently read these excellent books on the history of science. Summary: since 1911, historians have been realizing that the "Dark Ages" is a myth - that the Church kept the flame of reason and learning alive, receiving and improving upon Classical knowledge, gradually leading to the scientific revolution. In other words, modern science is a gift from the Church. Some of these books explore why modern science did not arise in other cultures, despite their own heritage of geniuses and discovery. These books are a valuable corrective to the popular myth that we owe modernity to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.

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This DVD/Blu-Ray is a marvelous look at the amazing transformation undergone by every caterpillar, wherein the caterpillar goes into a cocoon, virtually dissolves into an organic soup, then re-emerges as a creature designed for a completely different mode of life.

This is of course a formidable challenge to Darwinism, as it is difficult to explain how such a DNA program arose. The caterpillar that enters the cocoon "dies"; without a plan to emerge on the other side, the first caterpillar to adopt this strange lifestyle would not have survived to produce offspring. The other long-term planning involved, such as totally new features needed for flying, reproduction, drinking nectar, constructing its proboscis, etc. are also very hard to explain in Darwinian terms - in a scientific way, that is, not the usual handwaving.

The companion PDF also discusses the equally puzzling perfection of mimicry - so detailed that some species even have structures that imitate drops of poison.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Want to see how science keeps falsifying evolutionistic predictions? Take a look at CreationSafaris for a running commentary of how scientists keep getting "surprised" by how young the solar system appears, how intricate is the molecular design of life, how genetic sequencing keeps throwing evolutionary trees into disarray, and so on. It's a hoot.

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From CreationSafaris:
Michael Faraday as an elderly man was asked if he had any speculations about the afterlife. He responded, “Speculations? Man, I have none. I am resting on certainties.” Then he quoted II Timothy 1:12, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

A Return to True Science and Skepticism

Note: this site looks messed up in Opera and I don't know why! Any help would be appreciated.

Tired of self-proclaimed "skeptics" who refuse to examine the facts objectively? This site is a call to return to honest skepticism - examining claims on the basis of the facts, instead of sacrificing basic logic and intellectual integrity to defend falsified paradigms.

The original meaning of skeptic - one who inquires - has been subverted. Today, it simply means "one who denies," often with an irrational fanaticism against any idea that threatens the new religion of naturalistic materialism.

But there are still true skeptics. Are these dissenters right or wrong? Are they Galileos or Goulds? (A "Gould" is a brilliant mind tragically hobbled by religiously held a priori beliefs. This could be true of an atheist or theist.) You decide. But the answer lies in examing the facts, not in preventing them from being published, as has been done to the findings of many scientists unfortunate enough to let their professional integrity trump the received dogma.

"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."

- astronomer Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers

What is the Galileo Effect?

According to Science Held Hostage (Van Till, Young, Menninga), Galileo didn't get into trouble with the Roman Catholic Church until two of his enemies - who taught the pagan notion of geocentrism in the secular universities - convinced the Pope that geocentrism was a theological issue (until then, the Pope had OK'd Galileo's forthcoming book). What? Didn't learn that in school? That's OK - you're not alone. You've experienced the Galileo Effect, where knowledge is sacrificed on the altar of the prevailing, "scientific" philosophical preference. But not the way you were probably taught; quite the opposite.

I've seen the term "The Galileo Effect" used in the wrong, simplistic, superficial, unskeptical sense by those who think it refers to Galileo versus the Church, science versus religion. Now you know better.

You probably also weren't informed that the myth of the "flat earth" was an atheist invention. Where are those tax dollars going anyway?

Anyway. There are many lessons to be learned from this, to wit:

Hence the Galileo Effect: persecution and censorship of non-majority views in spite of non-trivial supporting data; intense peer pressure to "toe the line"; choosing the underlying paradigm for non-scientific reasons such as funding and philosophy; and the resultant dishonesty and unprofessionalism required to defend that paradigm, at the cost of scientific progress.

"It is in the first place constantly assumed, especially at the present day, that the opposition which Copernicanism encountered at the hands of ecclesiastical authority was prompted by hatred of science and a desire to keep the minds of men in the darkness of ignorance. To suppose that any body of men could deliberately adopt such a course is ridiculous, especially a body which, with whatever defects of method, had for so long been the only one which concerned itself with science at all."

- from The Catholic Encyclopedia

Was Galileo thrown into a prison? Tortured? Heh. See the next link for a big surprise:

  • A Catholic rebuttal of the popular myth.
  • As we shall see, those who forget history are not only doomed to repeat it, but may be doomed in more specific ways.

    The Galileo Effect is multifaceted. The prevailing general ignorance regarding Galileo's enemies in the scientific establishment and their pivotal role in his persecution is another troubling aspect. The corruption and transformation of the incident into a myth for popular consumption - laying all of the blame on the Catholic Church - is yet another. We need to be reminded that the practice of science is not as impassive and objective as most believe, but is, as all human undertakings, riddled with power plays, philosophical preferences, and emotion ...

    "Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant to me. ... I should like to find a genuine loophole."

    - mathematician Sir Arthur Eddington, regarding Georges Lemaitre's (somewhat weird) model of an expanding universe

    ... and, sometimes, just plain carelessness, shoddiness, laziness, and even dishonesty:

    He immediately without giving any thought to it he immediately had an excuse. He had a reason for not paying any attention to any wrong results. It just was built into him. He just had worked that way all along and always would. There is no question but [that] he is honest: He believed these things, absolutely...
    The article in the link is particularly troubling in its documentation of subconscious dishonesty in science. But what is more troubling is the apparent willingness of "men of science", even today, to sacrifice professional integrity and even human lives in defense of religiously-held dogma.

    I offer this page because of my love of science. Paradoxically, I will try to persuade you that science today has not changed as regard the Galileo Effect: although much good has been accomplished, there is still an intolerance that manifests itself in shoddy peer review, lost jobs and grants, and ridicule without sufficient cause.

    Without this realization on the part of the scientist and non-scientist, much time and money will be wasted. The greatest minds of our time will be wasted trying to shoehorn stubborn reality into increasingly tenuous theory, as was the sad experience of Sir Arthur Keith, discovering after 40 years that he had been betrayed by Piltdown Man. Today the same scenario may be playing out in the lives and work of scientists the world over: kept on a short leash by current scientific dogma, whether in the fields of biology, astronomy, anthropology, linguistics, and indeed any other specialty directed by the philosophy of evolution, which would be fine as an underlying philosophy for science except for one niggling detail: from the wealth of data accumulated thus far, it doesn't seem to be true.

    "[The] dead hand of Darwinism ... [has] weighed heavily on [scientific] progress for over one hundred years."

    - Dr. A.E. Wilder-Smith, The Creation of Life: A Cybernetic Approach to Evolution

    The other culprit is, of course, the search for fame, fortune, and funding. And because, as in the case of AIDS research, such dishonesty may cost lives, the many flavors of popular yet suspect "science" must be exposed for what they are.

    In doing so I will perhaps have the honor of introducing you to possible Galileo's of our time, and to encourage further serious evaluation (leading to confirmation or debunking) of their work. And, along the way, I hope to be a stepping-stone to persuading you that the best explanation for what we have discovered about reality seems to be Christian theism.

    You won't always agree with me or the stuff on this page or the links ...

    "but then again ... who does?"

    I can only promise you it'll be incredibly interesting ... and that it's incredibly important stuff to be ruminating about.

    So ... check out the links ... bon voyage!

    Note: The Galileo Effect is not responsible for the material linked to from this site. They are meant for springboards to further discovery, questioning (skepticism!), and research.


    Thursday, April 08, 2004

    Cremo Responds to a Critic

    From MCremo@compuserve.com Thu Jan 1 00:10:13 1998
    Date: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 18:02:56 -0500
    From: "Michael A. Cremo"
    Subject: Hidden History, Hidden Agenda
    Sender: "Michael A. Cremo"
    To: Cliff S _____
    Message-id: <199712311803_MC2-2DA8-F4EE@compuserve.com>

    Dear Cliff,

    The following is my reply to Lepper's review of Hidden History.

    It will be published, along with Lepper's review, in my book Forbidden Archeology's Impact, which will be in bookstores this coming spring. Lepper did not reply to my letter.

    Michael A. Cremo Letter to Dr. Bradley T. Lepper, June 1, 1997

    I've only recently seen your review of my book The Hidden History of the Human Race. I thank you for acknowledging that the book "makes a genuine contribution to our understanding of the history of archaeology and paleoanthropology." I also thank you for your statement that the authors "are quite right about the conservatism of many archeologists and physical anthropologists" and for your admission that archeologists sometimes dismiss ancient dates for sites "without an examination of the date or even a careful reading of the published claim."

    Furthermore, I am grateful to you for listing the articles that are not mentioned in Hidden History's discussion of the Timlin, New York, site. It was a mistake not to include them. They do raise important questions about the artifacts recovered from the site and about the geological interpretation of the age of the site.

    Nevertheless, in one of the papers cited by you, Bryan and Schnurrenberger (p. 149) concluded that at least five of the Timlin artifacts were genuine. From new studies of the geology of the site (p. 147), they concluded it was more recent than the original discoverers (Raemsch and Vernon) claimed. Raemsch and Vernon thought the Timlin artifacts were found in glacial till deposits, laid down by glaciers 60 or 70 thousand years ago. According to Bryan and Schnurrenberger, the glacial deposits had been reworked by a stream in early postglacial times. They thought the Timlin artifacts dated to this period. But it seems to me that if the tools were found in reworked glacial deposits, they could have come from those glacial deposits. This is a possibility that must at least be considered.

    I now want to offer some comments on the parts of your review that do not accurately reflect the content and purpose of Hidden History. The methodology employed in Hidden History was not borrowed from fundamentalist Christian creationists. As acknowledged in the introduction to Forbidden Archeology, the major methodological influences on the authors, particularly this author, were recent work in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science, as well as the Sanskrit historical literature of India, as interpreted by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, whose translations and commentaries have drawn favorable reviews from Sanskrit scholars and Indologists worldwide.

    In my study of Christian creationist books, I found some of higher quality than others. Not many of them, however, were directly related to human origins and antiquity, and those that were did not treat these topics in sufficient depth. They were not, therefore, extensively cited in Hidden History.

    Furthermore, I sensed that most Christian creationist work was directed more toward other Christian creationists than to mainstream scientists and scholars. Hidden History's parent book Forbidden Archeology was consciously aimed at mainstream scholars. It was intended to open a genuine scholarly dialogue or debate, and this effort has been successful. The large number of serious reviews the book has received in academic journals is a sign of that. To my knowledge, such journals do not normally give this kind of attention to other kinds of antievolutionary literature.

    As might be expected, some mainstream scholars succumbed to the temptation to force this book into familiar categories and responded accordingly; but many resisted that temptation, at least partially, and looked at the book somewhat objectively.

    The distinction between Hidden History's parent book (Forbidden Archeology) and ordinary creationist literature has been noted by many scientific reviewers, including Kenneth Feder, whom you cited in your article. Feder wrote in Geoarchaeology (9:338): "While decidedly antievolutionary in perspective, this work is not the ordinary variety of antievolutionism in form, content, or style. In distinction to the usual brand of such writing, the authors use original sources and the book is well written. Further, the overall tone of the work is far superior to that exhibited in ordinary creationist literature."

    Hidden History is not simply a "catalog" of "odd 'facts' which appear to conflict with the modern scientific understanding of human evolution." It develops a refined epistemological argument, which you were unable or unwilling to follow. It appears that you, like others, instinctively forced Hidden History into a familiar category (poorly contrived creationist tracts). And then you automatically repeated the customary set of accusations--"catalog of odd facts," "quoting out of context," etc. But these conventional maledictions do not apply to Hidden History, which presents a thorough and systematic survey and critique of evidence relevant to human origins and antiquity. The facts in the book are deployed within the framework of a well-articulated analysis of the quality of archeological and paleoanthropological reporting.

    About Hidden History's parent book, Journal of Field Archeology (21: 112) said:

    "This volume combines a vast amount of both accepted and controversial evidence from the archeological record with sociological, philosophical, and historical critiques of the scientific method to challenge existing views and expose the suppression of information concerning history and human origins."

    And archeologist Tim Murray wrote in British Journal for the History of Science (28: 379) that the book "provides the historian of archeology with a useful compendium of case studies in the history and sociology of scientific knowledge, which can be used to foster debate within archaeology about how to describe the epistemology of one's discipline."

    This is not to suggest that the writers of these statements endorsed the book's conclusions; they did not. But it is apparent that they thought the book was something more than a collection of poorly documented odd facts and quotations taken out of context. They could recognize something of the book's epistemological framework and intellectual integrity, whereas you could not.

    Hidden History does not quote out of context. Hidden History examines particular cases in considerable detail, with long quotations from original sources. The reasons for the detailed treatment are outlined in Hidden History's parent book (Forbidden Archeology, p. 35): "It would of course be possible to more briefly summarize and paraphrase reports such as these. There are two reasons for not doing so. The first is that paleoanthropological evidence mainly exists in the form of reports . . . and we shall therefore take the trouble to include many selections from such reports, the exact wording of which reveals much. . . . A second consideration is that the particular reports . . . are extremely difficult to obtain. . . . A final consideration is that proponents of evolutionary theory often accuse authors who arrive at nonevolutionary conclusions of 'quoting out of context.' It therefore becomes necessary to quote at length, in order to supply the necessary context."

    Admittedly, some of the context may have been lost in abridging the 900-page Forbidden Archeology to the 300-page Hidden History. But the preface I wrote to Hidden History explicitly refers readers desiring more complete context to the unabridged version of the book.

    Regarding quoting an author in support of a conclusion the author himself would not have advocated, there is nothing wrong with that if the quotation is accurate and the meaning of the quotation is taken as intended by the author. For example, Richard Leakey reported that the ER 1481 femur, found isolated from other bones, was anatomically modern and about 1.8 million years old (Hidden History, p. 253). It is not wrong for me to cite this information in support of the idea that the femur could have come from an anatomically modern human living in Africa 1.8 million years ago, even though Richard Leakey would probably not entertain this idea himself. Speaking of taking quotes out of context, you yourself are not sinless. You lifted the quote about mechanistic science being a militant ideology from its context, which deals with the activities of the Rockefeller Foundation in China in the first decades of the twentieth century, and presented it as the authors' general indictment of today's science.

    What Hidden History (pp. 195-196) actually says is that the Rockefeller Foundation, the board of which included educators like Charles W. Eliot (formerly president of Harvard University), scientists like Dr. Simon Flexner, and industrialists like John D. Rockefeller, wanted to open an independent secular university in China, for the purpose of introducing Western science. This was opposed by both the Chinese government, which wanted control over it, and Christian missionaries in China, worried about an influence detrimental to their own educational activities. To get around this opposition, Eliot suggested opening a hospital and medical school. According to a Foundation official, Eliot thought "there was no better subject than medicine to introduce to China the inductive method of reasoning that lies at the basis of all modern science." He apparently felt that China was being held back by its attachment to traditional Buddhist and Taoist ways of knowledge. The ploy was successful. The Foundation accepted Eliot's idea, as did the Chinese government and the Christian missionary establishment. It was in this context that Hidden History (p. 196) said: "Here mechanistic science shows itself a quiet but nevertheless militant ideology, skillfully promoted by the combined effort of scientists, educators, and wealthy industrialists, with a view toward establishing worldwide intellectual dominance." This particular statement is thus tied to a very specific event in history, and to a very specific group of educators, scientists, and industrialists. To make a case that the statement applies in a more general way to today's entire scientific enterprise might be worth attempting, but that would take a book in itself.

    In short, you took out of context a limited statement that was reasonable in terms of its supporting evidence and deliberately gave your readers the misimpression that Hidden History was making an unsupported wild generalization of the kind your readers are properly conditioned to reject. You also took out of its clearly stated context the report of evidence for extreme human antiquity discovered in France, published in American Journal of Science and Arts. This case was included in a chapter containing Hidden History's most extreme anomalies. The chapter introduction (p. 103) clearly stated: "The reports of this extraordinary evidence emanate, with some exceptions, from nonscientific sources. . . . We ourselves are not sure how much importance should be given to this highly anomalous evidence. But we include it for the sake of completeness and to encourage further study." This statement of context is so clear that your omission of it from your disparaging discussion can only be characterized as deliberate and, hence, intellectually dishonest.

    The following paragraph from your review illustrates just how far you are willing to descend into the realm of silliness and triviality: "Cremo and Thompson discuss the three to four million year old fossilized footprints discovered at Laetoli, and note that scholars have observed 'close similarities with the anatomy of the feet of modern humans' (p. 262). Cremo and Thompson conclude that these footprints actually are the tracks of anatomically modern humans, but they offer no explanation for why these individuals were not wearing the shoes which supposedly had been invented more than 296 million years earlier." Hidden History proposes that scientists who hold firmly to orthodox views on human origins often employ ridicule as their weapon of choice when confronted with challenging evidence. I see you are no exception to this rule. The real question is this: how do you explain the occurrence of anatomically modern footprints in rock 4 million years old? The foot bones of the australopithecines, supposedly the only hominids then in existence, could not, according to physical anthropologists such as Russell Tuttle, have made those prints. Regarding the report of the Nevada shoe print, the stimulus for your attempt to ridicule your way out of considering the obvious implications of the Laetoli footprints, it was included in Hidden History's chapter on extreme anomalies, with a very clear statement of its context. And you insisted on taking it out of this context. It was duly acknowledged that reports such as this, from nonscientific publications, leave much to be desired but were included in the book for the sake of completeness and to encourage further study. The photograph you complained about is of value in that it to some degree confirms the existence of the object in question. The report also offers opportunities for pursuing further investigation of this object. It might be possible, for example, to track down the object itself or to find the original microphotographs, said to have been taken by an employee of the Rockefeller Institute in New York.

    In addition to blatantly taking the reports of the Nevada shoe print and the above mentioned discoveries in France out of their clearly stated context and improperly suggesting that the "naive" authors were accepting of them to a degree that they were not, you were also unable or unwilling to see how this particular category of reports fit into the overall epistemological argument presented in the book. For your benefit, I shall put it as simply and briefly as I can.

    Assuming that there is evidence for extreme human antiquity in the earth's strata, we can make the following predictions. Some of the evidence will be close to conventionally accepted limits for human antiquity and some will far exceed these limits. Some of the evidence will be found by scientists, who will react to it according to their theoretical preconceptions and report it according to their professional standards. Some of the evidence will be found by nonscientists with few theoretical preconceptions and reported in nonscientific literature. It is likely that the evidence that most radically departs from conventionally accepted limits will be reported by nonscientists in nonscientific literature. In terms of this approach, evidence of the kind reported in the chapter on extreme anomalies does have some value in confirming the hypothesis that evidence for extreme human antiquity does exist and has been reported by various categories of researchers, ranging from professional scientists whose findings are published in academic journals to nonscientists whose findings are reported in newspapers and magazines.

    You said that just because reports of unusual phenomena were published in a 19th-century journal that happened to have the word "science" in its title is no measure of the reports' "reliability or relevance to modern science." Neither is this, in itself, any measure of their unreliability or irrelevance to modern science.

    You have misunderstood and taken out of context Thomas Kuhn's statement that "to reject one paradigm without simultaneously substituting another is to reject science itself." Kuhn did not intend this to mean that any individual who introduces evidence contradicting a reigning paradigm must himself immediately introduce a new paradigm.

    If you carefully study Kuhn's entire description of scientific revolutions, you will find the following development. In the beginning of a science there is no reigning paradigm. Individual scientists gather evidence from nature and use it to build competing paradigms. Eventually, one of these may triumph, and at this point a mature science, a research community with a common program, develops. This research community is guided by a single dominant paradigm, through which it structures its research goals and methods. The paradigm does not resolve all questions and problems. If it did, there would be no need for further research. Instead it gives a systematic approach for solving various puzzles suggested by the paradigm. The solving of these puzzles constitutes the activity of normal science. In the course of normal science, it may happen that anomalies begin to accumulate. Some of these may be set aside for future research. Some may be dismissed as irrelevant. But if a sufficient number of anomalies accumulates, anomalies which resist solution by the paradigm or incorporation into it, a crisis develops. As the crisis intensifies, scientists begin to offer and promote new paradigms capable of accommodating the anomalies. If one of these paradigms attracts the attention of a sufficient number of members of the research community, a scientific revolution takes place. The research community learns to see things in a different way. It develops a new set of methods and concerns. Kuhn points out that unless there is a recognizable crisis, provoked by an accumulation of crucial anomalies, there will be no movement to a new paradigm. The first step toward movement to a new paradigm is thus recognition of anomalies, of counterinstances to the current paradigm. In the 1970 edition of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (pp. 93-94), Kuhn compares scientific revolutions to political revolutions: "Initially it is crisis alone that attenuates the role of political institutions as we have already seen it attenuate the role of paradigms. In increasing numbers individuals become increasingly estranged from political life and behave more and more eccentrically within it. Then, as the crisis deepens, many of these individuals commit themselves to some concrete proposal for the reconstruction of society in a new institutional framework. . . The remainder of this essay aims to demonstrate that the historical study of paradigm change reveals very similar characteristics in the evolution of the sciences."

    The purpose of Forbidden Archeology is to confront the community of human evolution researchers with the massive number of unassimilated crucial anomalies in their field, and thus provoke a sense of crisis in at least some small section of this community. This effort has been to some degree successful, but the sense of crisis must be intensified. Only when the sense of crisis becomes intense will researchers give serious consideration to adopting a new paradigm. Kuhn noted (p. 76) that "retooling is an extravagance to be reserved for the occasion that demands it." In any case, I can assure you that I will be offering a new paradigm in a forthcoming book, as promised in Forbidden Archeology. In my opinion, the occasion demands it.

    I suppose we shall have to disagree on whether or not the claims of Carter, Lee, and Steen-McIntyre are supported by sufficiently compelling evidence. But I think your admission that they have been shamefully treated and subjected to unfortunate ad hominem attacks should cause researchers interested in North American archeology to take a second look at their findings, or, perhaps, a first look, and make up their own minds. I also have to disagree with your insistence that evidence that goes against current ideas of human origins must be subjected to a much higher standard of proof than evidence supporting current ideas. I agree with George Carter, who said in his book Earlier Than You Think (1980, p. 318): "When a new idea is advanced, it necessarily challenges the previous idea. . . . The new idea is then attacked, and support of it is required to be of a high order of certainty. The greater the departure from the previous idea, the greater the degree of certainty required, so it is said. I have never been able to accept this. It assumes that the old order was established on high orders of proof, and on examination this is seldom found to be true."

    I also agree with Alfred Russell Wallace, cofounder with Darwin of the theory of evolution by natural selection, who said (Nineteenth Century, vol. 22, p. 679) that "the proper way to treat evidence as to man's antiquity is to place it on record, and admit it provisionally wherever it would be held adequate in the case of other animals, not, as it too often now the case, to ignore it as unworthy of acceptance or subject its discoverers to indiscriminate accusations of being impostors or the victims of impostors."

    You are correct that even if true the chapter on living ape-men does not directly contribute to the book's thesis that anatomically modern humans existed in the very distant past. But if true the chapter would support the book's general picture of the coexistence of humans and more apelike hominids from the distant past until the present. While evidence of the coexistence of anatomically modern humans with more apelike hominids today does not do any violence to evolutionary theory, their coexistence in the distant past would do some violence to it. And the evidence documented in Hidden History suggests they did coexist in the distant past.

    You say that Hidden History offers "a mistaken identification" of a stone tool from Sandia Cave as a Folsom point and cite this as an example of the authors' "ignorance of the basic data of the basic data of archaeology." The identification is, however, not that of the authors, but of the archeologists who took the photograph of the stone tool and published the photograph along with their identification of the stone tool as a Folsom point in an archeological publication of the Smithsonian Institution, duly cited in the permission credits on the copyright page of Hidden History. The tool is shown cemented in the cave breccia. The references you gave in your review (Haynes and Agogino, Preston) also refer to the tools found cemented in the cave breccia as Folsom tools.

    I find it somewhat unusual that you faulted Hidden History, a book published in 1994 (as an abridgment of a work published in 1993), for not citing reports published in 1994 and 1995. I suppose the author of any book-length work on any scientific subject could also be accused of not being totally up to date on the latest work in his or her field. But that is the nature of the book writing process. You write a book, it goes to press, and comes out a year later. So automatically the book is going to be a year or two behind the times as soon as it becomes available for sale. In any case, I have already admitted that I should have been aware of the 1977 and 1978 reports on the Timlin site.

    Concerning the other reports you have cited (and I do thank you for calling them to my attention), I have the following comments.

    Haynes and Agogino think the implements found at Sandia Cave are no more than 14,000 years old. But their report on the Sandia Cave discoveries does not rule out the possibility that the human artifacts found there are perhaps as much as 300,000 years old.

    At Sandia Cave two kind of implements were found--Folsom implements and Sandia implements.

    The sequence of layers at Sandia Cave were as follow [sic.], from top to bottom. First came a layer of recent dirt and debris (Unit J). Under this was a layer of dripstone (calcium carbonate). This layer of dripstone (Unit I) yielded carbon 14 ages of 19,100 and 24,600 years. Haynes and Agogino found these ages hard to accept and proposed they must be wrong. They proposed that the dripstone had been contaminated with old carbon, and that this had caused the tests to yield ages that were falsely old. But even Haynes and Agogino were mystified by this. They acknowledged that contamination of samples is usually with younger carbon instead of older carbon (p. 26). Furthermore, over 80 percent of the carbon in the samples would have had to have been introduced by contaminants. They admitted that they could see no visible sign of any such contamination, and were reduced to speculating that the old carbon must have come from old carbon dioxide in the air trapped in the cave (p. 27).

    Haynes and Agogino (p. 7) said the ages of 19,100 and 24,600 "cannot be correct because of the archaeology and the dating of more reliable materials in the underlying units." In referring to the archaeology, they mean that tools identified as Folsom tools were found under the dripstone. Folsom tools are generally considered to be 10 or 11 thousand years old. Therefore, they reasoned, the carbon 14 dates of the overlying dripstone must be wrong. This is exactly the kind of reasoning that Forbidden Archeology criticizes. As for younger carbon dates on rock and bone below the dripstone being more reliable, this is hard to believe. For one thing, Haynes and Agogino (p. 26) admitted that none of their carbon 14 dates were reliable because they had been obtained by methods now considered obsolete. Furthermore, if they could attribute the ages of 19,100 and 24,600 years for the dripstone to contamination by old carbon (even though no contaminants were visible) they should also be able to attribute the younger ages of other samples to contamination by recent carbon. Below the dripstone, which could be 24,000 years old, was a deposit of cave breccia (Unit H). A bone from this deposit gave a uranium series age of 73,000 years (p. 7). Haynes and Agogino (p. 7) said that "the U-series date cannot be supported archaeologically." As mentioned above, Folsom implements, generally thought to be 10 or 11 thousand years old, were found cemented in the cave breccia of Unit H. Therefore the U-series date must be wrong. One could also propose that the generally accepted upper age limit for Folsom implements is wrong, and that the Folsom implements from Unit H of Sandia Cave are about 70,000 years old.

    Haynes and Agogino cited carbon 14 dates of 9,100 years for carbonate rock from the Unit H breccia and 12,830 years for bone fragments. But they have admitted that these dates are unreliable. In other words, the dates could be correct, or they could be falsely old or young. As we have seen, Haynes and Agogino have felt free to adjust the carbon 14 and uranium series dates to fit their conviction that the Folsom implements found in Unit H could not be more than 10 or 11 thousand years old. But there is another way to adjust things. We can accept the carbon 14 date of 24,000 years for the dripstone of Unit I and the uranium series age of 73,000 years for the bone found in the cemented breccia of Unit H. This would mean the Folsom implements of Unit H would be between 24,000 and 73,000 years old. Below Unit H is found another layer of dripstone called Unit G. This dripstone yielded a carbon 14 age of 30,000 or more years. In other words, the Unit G dripstone could be of any age more than 30,000 years. For example, Unit G could be 100,000 years old. Haynes and Agogino concluded this date must be wrong. But it fits into the sequence that we have established. The dripstone of Unit I yielded a radiocarbon date of 24,000 years, bone from the Unit H breccia yielded a uranium series age of 70,000 years, and the radiocarbon date of Unit G could be in excess of that. Below the dripstone of Unit G was another layer of cemented breccia called Unit F. Organic carbon from a cave wall gave a carbon 14 date of 12,000 years, but this could have resulted from contamination by younger carbon. Then comes a gypsum crust (Unit E), followed by another layer of dripstone, Unit D. This lower dripstone gave a carbon 14 age of 32,000 years, but Haynes and Agogino thought it was not correct. Wanting it to be younger, they proposed it had been contaminated with older carbon. The same dripstone yielded a uranium series age of 226,000 years. According to Preston (p. 74), another uranium series test gave an age of 300,000 years. Haynes and Agogino dismissed these ages, and revised the radiocarbon date downward to 27,000 years. I would propose dismissing the radiocarbon age, and keeping the uranium series dates, which fit nicely into the sequence of radiocarbon and uranium series dates that I have established.

    Beneath the dripstone of Unit D is a deposit of yellow ocher. When burned, yellow ocher yields a reddish substance used as a cosmetic. Haynes and Agogino suggested the ocher deposits had been mined by early Indians. Beneath the yellow ocher, the original discovers found a loose deposit of rock and dirt (Unit X) containing in some places stone tools of a type different from the Folsom implements found in the upper breccias. They called these stone tools Sandia implements. According to Haynes and Agogino, rodents carried all of these tools down from the upper levels of the cave deposits (Units F and H) starting about 14,000 years ago. To support this hypothesis, the pointed to the presence of rodent bones yielding carbon 14 dates ranging from 8,000 to 14,000 years. If the positions in which they were found in Unit X were their original positions, then the tools would be at least 300,000 years old (if we accept the uranium series date for the overlying Unit D dripstone).

    There are several points to consider here. First, Haynes and Agogino (p. vii) admitted that their carbon 14 dates were unreliable: "There is no foolproof method of positively isolating indigenous bone carbon from contaminant carbon in leached bone." So the rodent bones could have been much older than their maximum carbon 14 dates of 14,000 years, and the rodents could thus have moved the tools to their positions in Unit X much earlier than 14,000 years ago.

    The effective range of the carbon 14 dating method used by Haynes and Agogino was about 40,000 years. This means that if the rodent bones were 300,000 years old, then even a small amount of contamination would have caused them to yield a carbon 14 date of 40,000 years. More extensive contamination would have brought the ages down even further.

    Furthermore, there are some difficulties with the idea that rodents moved the Sandia tools from higher levels in the cave down to positions in and below the ocher deposits at any point in time, whether 14,000 or 300,000 years ago. Only Sandia implements are found in Unit X. None are found in Units F and H, which according to Haynes and Agogino were the most likely source of the Sandia implements. Haynes and Agogino (p. 28) proposed that the Sandia implements were deposited in Unit F between 14,000 and 11,000 years ago, before Unit F was consolidated into a hard cave breccia between 11,000 and 9,000 years ago. The Folsom implements would have been deposited in Units F and H during this latter period of consolidation.

    But Haynes and Agogino (p. 28) noted a problem: "If Sandia occupation was before Folsom occupation it is surprising that no diagnostic Sandia artifacts were found in the [Unit F] breccias." Preston (p. 75) asked Haynes this question: "How was it possible that all the Sandia points--nineteen of them--were somehow carried by rodents to the bottom layer only?" Rodent tunnels are found in many of the layers, not just the bottom layer. Haynes replied, "Don't think we didn't ask ourselves that same question. It's very, very strange."

    Haynes and Agogino also considered the possibility that the Sandia implements were younger than the Folsom implements found in the cave breccias of Units F and H. This means they would have to be from the loose cave debris (Unit J) that started accumulating on the cave floor after 9,000 years ago. But Haynes and Agogino (p. 28) note that this "appears unlikely because no Sandia artifacts are reported from the upper loose debris (Unit J)."

    A more reasonable possibility would be that the Sandia artifacts below the yellow ocher are in their original positions and that they were not moved by rodents from the upper levels of the cave. Just because there is evidence that rodents made tunnels into the levels containing the implements does not rule out the possibility that the implements were in their original positions. That the Sandia implements were found only in and beneath the ocher argues for them being in their original positions. In that case, the implements would be over 300,000 years old, about the same age as the crude stone tools from the Calico, California, site and the advanced stone tools from the Hueyatlaco, Mexico, site.

    Here is another reason for suspecting that the Sandia implements were in their original positions, arriving their as a result of human action rather than transport by rodents. The first Sandia implement was found on the level of the cave floor, alongside a hearth made from four stream-rounded cobble stones, charcoal, and a jaw of a large mammal (Haynes and Agogino, figure 6). Haynes and Agogino (p. 28) noted: "Apparently all witnesses considered the point, four rounded cobbles, and a bovid mandible to be in situ and associated with the hearth."

    According to Preston, some archaeologists have suggested that the Sandia cave discoveries were all fraudulent. Haynes and others disagreed. Of course, if the discoveries were fraudulent, that would be significant. We would have another case, in addition to Piltdown, in which professional scientists manufactured evidence in support of their own theories. To me, however, the most likely interpretation of the Sandia evidence is that you have Folsom implements in Units F and H that could be anywhere from 24,000 to 73,000 years old and Sandia implements in Unit X that are at least 300,000 years old.

    Taylor's report on the Calico site is a review of published literature and does not give any new evidence. Taylor (p. 7) admitted that the age of the artifact-bearing sediments at Calico is "in excess of 100,000 years and perhaps as much as 200,000 years old." He doubted, however, that the objects found in these sediments are the result of human work. In this regard, Taylor cited a report by Payen, which analyzed the Calico artifacts in terms of the Barnes platform angle method. According to Barnes, at least 75 percent of the platform angles should be acute (less than 90 degrees) for the object to be of human manufacture. Payen found that the Calico implements did not satisfy this requirement. But Taylor neglected to mention a later report by Leland W. Patterson, an expert in lithic technology, and his coworkers that appeared in Journal of Field Archeology (vol. 14, pp. 91-106). Patterson and his coauthors (p. 97) reported, "Acute platform angles were found on 94.3% of the Calico flakes with intact platforms . . . The average platform angle of the Calico flakes was 78.7% . . . . This is consistent with the usual products of intentional flaking." A more detailed discussion can be found in Forbidden Archeology (pp. 166-175). Patterson disputed Payen's conclusions and methodology. The paper by Meltzer, Adovasio, and Dillehay the Pedra Furada site in Brazil raises questions about the evidence for a human occupation there at 30,000 years. The original discoverers reported hearths with charcoal at levels of this age, along with stone tools. Meltzer, Adovasio, and Dillehay expressed some doubts about the charcoal (was it from wildfires rather than hearths?) and the stone tools (were they really of human manufacture?). The original discoverers have, of course, already given attention to such doubts. Meltzer, Adovasio, and Dillehay (pp. 695-696) themselves acknowledged that they "are not experts on the data and evidence recovered from Pedra Furada" and that they did not "expect our opinions will be shared by our colleagues (even those who viewed the site with us)." I would not therefore characterize their report as a refutation of the claims of the original discoverers.

    Regarding the report of Julig, Mahaney, and Storck on the Sheguiandah, it is, as the title indicates, a very brief preliminary study. The original investigators, T. E. Lee and J. T. Sanford, found stone tools in deposits they characterized as glacial till. This would give them considerable antiquity. Other investigators have challenged the identification of the Sheguiandah deposits as till. But the preliminary studies of Julig, Mahaney, and Storck (p. 111) revealed that "the so-called 'till' deposits are clearly non-sorted and may be till or colluvium." They noted that "of the 27 samples analyzed from the so-called 'till' deposits and underlying sediments, 20 exhibit curves which are characteristic of nonsorted sediment such as till or colluvium." Furthermore, Julig, Mahaney, and Storck stated that "crescentic gouges. . . which are widely considered to be the effect of transport by continental ice, were . . . observed on grains of several samples." So your suggestion that their report clearly contradicts the earlier work of Lee and Sanford is mistaken. In fact, the report tends to confirm the judgments of Lee and Sanford.

    Returning to general methodology, you accuse the authors of being "selectively credulous to an astonishing degree." You find it objectionable that we "accept without question the testimony of 19th-century goldminers and quarrymen, but treat with extreme skepticism (or outright derision) the observations of 20th-century archaeologists." Of course, we did not accept without question the testimony of anyone. But I can understand how you could have gotten an impression of selective credulity. Missing from Hidden History's discussion of epistemological principles is the following paragraph from Forbidden Archeology (p. 25), which may help you understand something about the methods we employed in evaluating reports:

    "In discussing anomalous and accepted reports . . . we have tended to stress the merits of the anomalous reports, and we have tended to point out the deficiencies of the accepted reports. It could be argued that this indicates bias on our part. Actually, however, our objective is to show the qualitative equivalence of the two bodies of material by demonstrating that there are good reasons to accept much of the rejected material, and also good reasons to reject much of the accepted material. It should also be pointed out that we have not suppressed evidence indicating the weaknesses of anomalous findings. In fact, we extensively discuss reports that are highly critical of these findings, and give our readers the opportunity to form their own opinions."

    In a final flourish of rancor, you hurl at Hidden History a veritable barrage of curses, practically exhausting the fundamentalist Darwinian's stock of clichés, calling the book a "sloppy rehashing of canards, hoaxes, red herrings, half truths and fantasies." But others have passed a different final judgment. In their review article about the unabridged version of Hidden History, historian of science David Oldroyd and his graduate student Jo Wodak wrote in Social Studies of Science (26: 107): "So has Forbidden Archeology made any contribution at all to the literature on palaeoanthropology? Our answer is a guarded 'yes', for two reasons. First, while the authors go in for overkill in terms of swamping the reader with detail . . . much of the historical material they resurrect has not been scrutinized in such detail before. Second, . . . Cremo and Thompson do raise a central problematic regarding the lack of certainty in scientific 'truth' claims."

    Earlier in the same review article (p. 196) they noted: "It must be acknowledged that Forbidden Archeology brings to attention many interesting issues that have not received much consideration from historians; and the authors' detailed examination of the early literature is certainly stimulating and raises questions of considerable interest, both historically and from the prospective of practitioners of sociology of scientific knowledge."

    Regarding Ian Tattersall's book, the following quote from Wodak and Oldroyd is perhaps relevant: "If scientists have lost sight of the idea of Tertiary Man, perhaps historians bear some responsibility. Certainly some pre-FA histories of palaeoanthropology, such as Peter Bowlers, say little about the kind of evidence adduced by C&T, and the same may be said of some texts published since 1993, such as Ian Tattersalls recent book. So perhaps the rejection of Tertiary Homo sapiens, like other scientific determinations, is a social construction in which historians of science have participated."

    Anyone who is really interested in learning the complete story of how we know what we think we know about human origins and antiquity cannot afford to ignore Hidden History or, better yet, Forbidden Archeology.

    In the end, I cannot judge you too harshly. After all, like many of your generation, you probably grew up believing in Darwinism and were conditioned to regard such belief as one of the characteristics of scientific and intellectual respectability. You were also conditioned to regard opposition to Darwinism as a symptom of religious intolerance or irrational credulity, deserving of righteous contempt. Given all that, your fundamentalist reaction to Hidden History is understandable. Even so, I detect in your review some signs that you may someday rise to the platform of virtuous scientific impartiality to which you now pretend.

    Wednesday, April 07, 2004

    Review of

    Evolution: A Theory in Crisis

    by Michael Denton

    This is the text of the somewhat hurried review I dashed off to Amazon. - C.S.

    A molecular biologist refutes evolutionism.
    (I was astonished to find Mr. Denton described as an agnostic. If this is true, this book is even more amazing for its intellectual honesty.)

    A molecular biologist, Mr. Denton marshals various facts mitigating against the theory of evolution. Indeed, one of the strengths of this book is its "big picture" approach to refuting evolution - arguing for the existence of distinct classes of organisms by asking hard questions about homology, embryonic development, amino acid design, and, of course, the bugbear of evolution and origins science - DNA.

    Although published before Behe's wonderfully controversial "Darwin's Black Box", Denton examines several black boxes - the astonishing complexity of avian feathers, the incorporation of the Page-Handley slot in avian wings, the specialized breathing system of birds; hard questions about supposed transitional forms such as Archaeopteryx; the mind-boggling, inexplicably different migration pathways of cells in metamorphosizing insects; the much-touted but misleading "horse series"; and so on. As one reads through this amazing dissection of these subjects, the disturbing (and sad) thought arises: Why aren't these questions being asked in public, as it were? Why do the textbooks and museums present such poorly understood (and sometimes outrightly false) material as fact? Why aren't more scientists thinking as critically? It's tragic that these questions are not raised in biology classes to sharpen and stimulate young (?) minds but that the "doctrines" he questions are routinely presented as gospel. Sometimes we can have too much faith, it seems.

    Perhaps what the reader will find most fascinating is the revelation that the evolutionary classification scheme falls on its face even at the molecular level - the very area in which it had hoped to triumph. Science now has a quantitative method of measuring supposed ancestral relationships - percentage sequence difference comparison of amino acid and DNA - and that method shows amphibians to be just as far away from fish (ancestrally) as humans are (to pick just one example), an unwelcome finding apparently raising much ire in the evolutionary community.

    The sheer amount of misinformation contained in tirades against this book only attests to the religious nature of the adherents of evolution. The constant refusal, however, of evolution's defenders to meet Denton's challenges head-on with objective and undisputed facts should encourage other scientists to "come out of the closet" with their own doubts - if for nothing more than a love for science.

    Tuesday, April 06, 2004

    Review of

    Nature's Destiny

    by Michael Denton

    This is the text of the review I dashed off to Amazon. - C.S.

    It is a tragic demonstration of what Cremo, in "Forbidden Archeology," politely calls the "knowledge filter" of science, that evolutionists can take the time to read the 428 pages of this book and completely miss the whole point. To claim that Denton has been "converted" to evolutionism is either a serious misreading or deliberate misrepresentation. Perhaps the following, from the conclusion of "Nature's Destiny," will suffice to demonstrate:

    "All the evidence available in the biological sciences supports the core proposition of traditional natural theology--that the cosmos is a specially designed whole with life and mankind as its fundamental goal and purpose, a whole in which all facets of reality, from the size of galaxies to the thermal capacity of water, have their meaning and explanation in this central fact."(p. 389)

    Can Denton's stance be any more clearer than this? Perhaps. He does say that "to get from a single cell to Homo Sapiens has taken about 4 billion years". Likewise, he seems to assume that evolution is responsible for the diversity and complexity of life, albeit directed by information built into the first cell, by whom or what he does not say. However, he offers little to support the notion that the origin of this first cell (and its wondrous DNA) was "in some way programmed into the laws of nature ... it has to be admitted that at present, despite an enormous effort, we still have no idea how this occurred ..."

    He goes on to mention the various theories currently offered, unfortunately with a less critical eye than he should. Even the poor example of snowflakes as a highly ordered state analogous to the molecules of life is thrown a bone. This seems strange in light of the still unanswered challenges presented in his previous book, but it is an example of why evolutionism has survived-- the compartmentalization of science, whereby each scientist, assuming evolution to be proven outside his own field of expertise, discards or explains away his own contradictory findings (the "knowledge filter" again). We will have to be content with such excellent volumes on the subject as "Forbidden Archeology","The Origin of Species Revisited", and Lubenow's "Bones of Contention". However, this does not detract from the main thrust: the overwhelming evidence of design, inexplicable by "natural" evolution.

    Another flaw is his requiring that "evidence for believing that the world is prefabricated to the end of life" must somehow contradict his own notion of "special creation." Even supposing this were true, he errs in forgetting that the creation of the first cell (to use his evolutionary view) or DNA, or indeed the left-handedness of life's proteins, are in themselves worthy of being considered supernatural acts, in that they do not naturally follow from the (strangely fortituous) laws of nature in the same way as the origin of the heavier elements. He neglects to address the still unresolved (and fatal) problems regarding the early atmosphere, crucial to the origins question. In distancing himself from his perception of "creationism," he exhibits similar forgetfulness when he claims that his argument is consistent with naturalistic science--"that the cosmos ... can be comprehended ultimately in its entirety by human reason." But surely he does not mean to include abiogenesis and the fitness of the universe for life. Instead, one gets the impression that he is trying to be charitable to his fundamentalist Darwinian colleagues.

    What Denton does do well is take us on a marvelous tour of how finely-tuned the universe is to allow us to exist. He does this in far greater detail than most other books of this kind. He covers such "coincidences" as the many fortituous (and anomolous) properties of water, independent yet working together to support life; the fine-tuning of physical constants; suspicious dovetailing of nuclear resonances; the fitness of carbon and other elements for life; the complexity and inexplicability of DNA and proteins; etc. As we read about the ingenuity employed at the molecular level for the sending of nerve signals, manipulation of electrons, conveyance of oxygen, and so on, and the many such contrivances that are essential for life, we are struck by the overwhelming, mind-boggling complexity of it all, and the sneaking suspicion that much is taken on faith in evolutionistic circles. And we see immediately that it cannot be an informed faith based on any scientific evidence, but rather a wishful, forced belief that such nanomachines could have arisen by chance. By the time we have recovered from our revelations about water and carbon, how wonderfully fit they are for our existence, by the time we are finished reading about proteins and the cell, it seems an impossibility that life, being so complex as it is, could have arisen at all, even if it were created by some supernatural being; for this being would have to be possessed of an intellect that beggars our minds. We are used to thinking of cells as simple blobs of protoplasmic jelly, as did Darwin; not so. Now we can understand wny the intricate requirements of life are usually glossed over in popularized treatments on evolution: either the knowledge was not available then, or the inclusion of it would have made evolution impossible, even ridiculous, to defend.

    However, details even creationists take for granted are scrutinized, leaving us with a sense of awe (or gnashing of teeth): the fitness of the visual spectrum for vision; the design of the hand; our body dimensions and bipedal gait, allowing us to use fire and thus develop technology; our capacity for language; and so on. In doing so he shows us that the "chance" so casually spoken of in evolutionism quickly diminishes to absurdity upon open-minded examination of our cosmos; and that, indeed, we were meant to discover this fact.

    This compilation of smoking guns makes for an always fascinating, always interesting read, bound to raise much ire in evolutionistic circles. Perhaps a better title would have been "Denton's Dangerous Idea." Apologies to many sci-fi writers should be forthcoming, as he demonstrates that many concepts of otherworldly life can be entertained only in our naivete.

    Another review posted in response to fundamentalist Darwinist "reviews" of the book.

    There are those who need to believe in Darwinism and there are those who do not. The first group will go to any length to misinform and misrepresent (as can be evidenced by the many claims that Denton has "converted" to evolutionism while ignoring his central point: that recent scientific discoveries point to the existence of a Designer), because Darwinism must be true for their worldview to hold. The second group, consisting of openminded theists and nontheists, is free to go wherever the facts may lead.

    The attacks are characteristic of fanaticism: claiming that Denton's book is a religious tract and supposing that settles the matter. This is similar to Dawkins' personal attacks on Richard Milton's highly recommended "Shattering the Myths of Evolution," where Dawkins froths at the mouth labeling Milton as a "creationist in disguise." But are Fred Hoyle, Paul Davies, etc. religious creationists? Why such tactics in response to scientific observations? The answer is clear from Denton's book.

    Fundamentalist Darwinians have a deep-seated psychological need to see the universe as a mere product of chance, devoid of supernaturalism. Not understanding the implications of quantum physics, they believe that science will someday support their view. All opposing viewpoints and data must therefore be wrong. However, since the opposing views are based on factual data, ad hominem attacks and misinformation are the only available defenses left (see Milton's discussion of the "howler monkeys" of the current dogma).

    Denton's book, while flawed, overwhelmingly exposes the narrowmindedness of this view, by showing us how improbable it is. For all the rantings of Darwinists, it is interesting that his factual points that show this are just ignored. Has Denton converted to evolutionism, a faith he showed defunct in his previous book? An objective reading shows that this is not the case. "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis" underlined the ludicrousness of believing that evolution happened by chance, and called for a new theory that explained such developments as the avian lung. Such a theory would incorporate some notion of design, since Darwinism had proved irrelevant. His second book, while not providing that theory, ups the ante, providing more evidence of the "Galileo Effect."

    Since his field is molecular biology, "Nature's Destiny" assumes many things about scientific knowledge, many of which are in dispute, such as the geological time scale. (For an excellent nontheist discussion of this problem, and many others, see Milton's book.) But the thrust of his argument is that, even assuming evolution occurs, it must have been directed. He believes, however, that the direction was inevitable given the designed initial conditions; therein lies the flaw. There would, in actuality, have been many points in our alleged history where intelligent intervention was needed: abiogenesis, for one; the origin of species, but another. However, this does not detract from the rest of the argument; it merely confuses those who are "true believers" in Darwinism, and therefore not disposed to consider his views and points more carefully. Why is the universe so hospitable to us, even though the chances of finding a planet like ours is virtually zero (Hugh Ross)? This question is studiously ignored, but that is the heart of the book. If you would be a champion of evolutionism, that is the dragon to be slain. If you already believe that dinosaurs can be buried at the alleged soil deposition rate of 0.1 mm a year, you could believe in such chances, too, I suppose. But I do not have that much faith.

    Sunday, April 04, 2004

    Arrogance in Archeology

    This excerpt from Cremo's Forbidden Archeology, p. 198, is but one of many illustrations of counterproductive conservatism in science, specifically in the field of archaeology. His book is a veritable treasure trove of such evidences of the frequent refusal of scientists to consider data hostile to the preferred paradigm in an objective and professional manner, even when the quality and quantity of the evidence is overwhelming.

    "The following arguments in favor of this theory were published in the popular science magazine, Discover, in June of 1987: "at excavated Clovis sites, conclusive evidence for artifacts made by other peoples has been found above but not below the level with Clovis tools; and there are no irrefutable human remains with irrefutable pre-Clovis dates anywhere in the New World south of the former Canadian ice sheet. Mind you, there are dozens of claims of sites with pre-Clovis human evidence, but all are marred by serious questions about whether the material used for radiocarbon dating was contaminated by older carbon, or whether the dated material was really associated with human remains, or whether the tools supposedly made by hand were just naturally shaped rocks. In contrast, the evidence for Clovis is undeniable, widely distributed, and accepted by archaeologists" (Diamond ~987, pp.84, 86).

    "To put this theory into perspective, we should note that before World War II, anthropological authorities insisted that human beings first entered America 4,000 years ago. Their initial reaction to the Clovis hunter theory was summed up by the anthropologist John Alsoszatai-Petheo (1986, pp.18-19): "For... decades, American archaeologists would labor under the view of man's relative recency in the New World, while the mere mention of the possibility of greater antiquity was tantamount to professional suicide. Given this orientation, it is not surprising that when the evidence of the antiquity of man in America was finally reported from Folsom, Clovis, and other High Plains sites, it was rejected out of hand by established authorities despite the clear nature of the evidence at multiple locations, uncovered by different researchers, and seen and attested to by a large variety of professional visitor/observers. . . . The mind set of conservatives of the day left no room for acceptance."

    "Alsoszatai-Petheo argued that the history of the rejection of the Folsom and Clovis discoveries is now being repeated as conservative archeologists of the present day staunchly reject evidence for pre-Clovis man in America."

    (Emphasis mine.)

    Copyright 1993 Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Reproduced with permission.

  • See Cremo's reply to a critic here.

  • Saturday, April 03, 2004

    Science vs. Evolution

    Who will win?

  • Biology's Black Boxes: Darwin Debunked
  • Molecular Machines (from ARN)
  • Non-theists Attack Evolution
  • Evolutionists Doubt Evolution
  • The Mechanisms of Evolution: Intimidation and Censorship
  • The Mechanisms of Evolution: Blissful Ignorance
  • Anomalies Unexplained by Evolutionism
  • Evolutionists Panic
  • Other Problems
  • Darwinism in Action
  • "A pseudoscience is something that pretends to be a science but does not obey the rules of good conduct common to all sciences. Thus such subjects are false sciences.

    True science is a method of studying nature. It is a set of rules that prevents scientists from lying to each other or to themselves. Hypotheses must be open to testing and must be revised in the face of contradictory evidence. All evidence must be considered and all alternative hypotheses must be explored. The rules of good science are nothing more than the rules of good thinking, that is, the rules of intellectual honesty."

    - M.A.Seeds, HORIZONS Exploring the Universe,Wadsworth
    Publishing Company, Belmont, CA (1989).

    After quoting the above, Bryan G. Wallace (The Farce of Physics, 1993) goes on to say:

    This brings up an interesting question; Do scientists actually practice what they preach? The evidence clearly shows that the average scientist tends not to use the rules of good science. In fact, it appears that Protestant ministers are inclined to have more intellectual honesty than Ph.D. scientists. To document this fact, I will quote from an article titled "Researchers Found Reluctant to Test Theories" by Dr. David Dickson ..."

    No field of science is therefore immune to sloppiness. However, when evolutionism is at stake, the "rules of intellectual honesty" evaporate into bluster. The reason for this is clear: evolutionism is "the only game in town" if you have a deep faith in pure naturalism.

    As our knowledge progresses, however, the cracks in scientism widen even further. Molecular biology, for example, has revealed the baffling complexity of life and its constituents, once again raising the specter of intelligent design:

  • Biology's Black Boxes
  • Talking with an otherwise "tolerant" radio talk show host recently, it became clear to me that many have what seems to be a comic-book cartoon stereotype of anyone who dares question evolution: a "creationist" who (gasp!) believes the world is 6,000 years old and rejects all the laws of physics and chemistry. (Ironically, this kind of suspension of the known laws of science is acceptable if done to defend evolutionism.)

    It would surprise that "open-minded" host, who was soon practically frothing at the mouth (he described creationists as a group of people who "meet in some dark basement somewhere") to know that evolution is under attack by nontheists, and even evolutionists themselves.

  • Nontheists Doubt Evolution
  • Evolutionists Doubt Evolution
  • “I have often thought how little I should like to have to prove organic evolution in a court of law.”

    — Errol White, Proceedings of the Linnean Society, London (1966) [an ichthyologist (expert on fish) in a 1988 address before a meeting of the Linnean Society in London].

    Why did the president of the prestigious Linnean Society make such a remark? Because, presumably, in such a proceeding, evidence would be required and evaluated, and the theory would have to stand on scientific observation, rather than sheer volume of books published that proclaim it as fact.

    Phillip E. Johnson, the Jefferson E. Peyser Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, a former believer in evolution, examines Darwinism from a lawyer's standpoint in his book "Darwin on Trial," and concludes that as far as the quality and quantity of evidence is concerned, it hasn't got a legal leg to stand on. Other lawyers and evolutionists have remarked similarly that the evidence for evolution would not stand up in a court of law.

    But should we be surprised? Evolution is a scofflaw when it comes to the basic laws of thermodynamics, genetics, molecular biology, chemistry, and information theory, but to name a few. So loyal are its defenders that today, in the face of the baffling complexity found in nature, are faithfully clinging to the hope of some mysterious, still undiscovered quirks of mathematics to explain its alleged abilities to flout physical law.

  • A Lawyer Dismantles Evolutionism (at ARN)
  • Evolutionism does not explain many anomalous findings, such as those documented by Cremo: findings of tools, writing, human fossils, and other traces of the hand of man, in strata or locations dated long before man is supposed to have existed.

  • Anomalies Unexplained by Evolutionism

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