Our New Home

We have a new home, come join us at WeAreSMRT (We Are Skeptical Minds & Rational Thinkers)

The Forum

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Over at the swamp, several of Ray's followers finally did the "research" (read: 2 second google search) to prove that the Australopithecus afarensis speciment "Lucy" has been discredited.

Let's take a look at some of the claims made:

ThreeTimesHoly quoted AiG's John Morris:
The features which suggest upright posture to Johanson are primarily the hip and knee joints, but numerous studies on the hip have shown otherwise. Oxnard, in his 1987 book, Fossils, Teeth and Sex (which contains an excellent summary of these various studies), claims that, "These fossils clearly differ more from both humans and African apes than do these living groups from each other. The australopithecines are unique" (p. 227). Evidently they could walk somewhat upright, as pygmy chimps do today, but not in the human manner at all. Furthermore, Johanson seldom reminds us that he found the knee joint—the strongest evidence for upright stance—in a location some two to three kilometers away, and in a layer of rock some 200 feet lower. Clearly, the knee does not belong with the rests, but even if they do go together, the knee is not diagnostically upright, and; points more specifically to tree-climbing abilities, according to Oxnard and other authorities.

Jim Foley (1997) wrote:
Charles Oxnard (1975), in a paper that is widely cited by creationists, claimed, based on his multivariate analyses, that australopithecines are no more closely related, or more similar, to humans than modern apes are. Howell et al.(1978) criticized this conclusion on a number of grounds. Oxnard's results were based on measurements of a few skeletal bones which were usually fragmentary and often poorly preserved. The measurements did not describe the complex shape of some bones, and did not distinguish between aspects which are important for understanding locomotion from those which were not. Finally, there is "an overwhelming body of evidence", based on the work of nearly 30 scientists, which contradicts Oxnard's work. These studies used a variety of techniques, including those used by Oxnard, and were based on many different body parts and joint complexes. They overwhelmingly indicate that australopithecines resemble humans more closely than the living apes.


Less controversially, Oxnard also claims that, while probably bipedal, australopithecines did not walk identically to modern humans. Creationists sometimes quote this conclusion in a highly misleading manner, saying Oxnard proved that australopithecines did not walk upright, and then adding, as an afterthought (or in Willis' (1987) case, not at all) "at least, not in the human manner".

Qu Adds:
Note that Jim Foley, unlike John Morris, references actual scientific articles when making his claims.


ThreeTimesHoly quoted AiG's John Morris:
Several investigators, including Richard Leakey, have now concluded that two or perhaps three species have been wrongly combined in "Lucy." She was not a human ancestor. At best, she was a form of extinct ape; at worst, she was a mosaic, yet she is still touted as the best "evidence" for human evolution.

Jim Foley (1997) wrote:
In 1987, creationist Tom Willis accused Donald Johanson of fraud, claiming that the skeleton known as "Lucy" consisted of bones that had been found at two sites about 2.5 km (1.5 miles) apart. Willis had actually confused two separate finds which belong to the same species. (This was in spite of the fact that a best-selling book (Johanson and Edey 1981) has photos of both fossils: AL 129-1 is a right knee, while Lucy has a right femur and a left tibia.) This was a spectacular error which could hardly have been made by anyone who had done the most elementary research, but that didn't stop many other creationists from picking up the claim and repeating it. For a full history of this claim, read the talk.origins knee-joint FAQ file (Lippard 1997)

Melanie, quoting Dave Scot, wrote:
Another icon of evolution, the world famous fossil “Lucy” was found to not be in the modern human lineage at all. The interesting part of this is that this is extremely newsworthy but because it casts a very unflattering light on so many scientists who, uncritically it seems, placed Lucy in the modern human line of descent, you won’t find it widely reported except in the Darwin-denier blogs and websites.

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich (in the article Dave Scot is responding to) wrote:
Rak and colleagues studied 146 mature primate bone specimens, including those from modern humans, gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans and found that the “ramus element” of the mandible connecting the lower jaw to the skull is like that of the robust forms, therefore eliminating the possibility that Lucy and her kind are Man’s direct ancestors. They should therefore, the Israeli researchers said, “be placed as the beginning of the branch that evolved in parallel to ours.”

Qu clarifies:
In other words, Lucy is a very close (in evolutionary terms) decendant of the common ancestor between humans and apes, and is an ancestor of Australopithecus robustus.

PS: We're getting close to 1000 posts! Are we going to have some sort of big party when we hit 1000? I vote we invite Ray, get him drunk, and shave off his mustache! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAGGGGHHH!!!


  1. When you're done with the shaving, how about a nice Ghetto-style 'Lucy' tattoo across his butt.
    And a crocoduck on his forehead.

  2. If we get him drunk we have to record and sell it! We could call it "Ray Gone Wild"! We could post it one Youtube and Godtube and then he can claim that the evil atheists edited it to make him look bad!

  3. One point that bears mentioning is that biologists do not make any great claims for Lucy as a direct antecedant of modern man and never have. What they claim is that Australopithecus afarensis is an example of a hominid showing both ape and hominid features in the time and place predicted by evolution.

    As usual, creotards set up a strawman and then get themselves hard by demolishing it.


    Sahelanthropus tchadensis is apparently considered by many a more likely candidate for direct ancestor (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/toumai.html).

  4. Yeah, and then we'll hold him down while Maragon rubs her tits on his face.

  5. BF,
    Yeah, that asshat would probably resist.....

  6. I have never liked the terms we generally use for people like James Dobson.

    I particularly dislike the label "religious right", because I find little, if anything 'right' about their positions.

    But I did come across a phrase the other day that does seem to fit better.


    I'm going to shorten that to the more perjorative;


    Given that, I always find it incredulous that neo-theos will accept the disproven words of AIG, ICR, and a handful of cranks over the published and virtually undisputed findings of an overwhelming and near unanimous concensus of the world's scientific community.

    Blind faith vs. reasoned thought.


  7. Once we hit the 1K mark, I've got a bottle of Bookers with a shotglass at the ready...

    PS. er, word verification for this post: nonips. Ray's influence seems to be spreading...

  8. BF,

    Neo-Theo. Yes. Very fitting and proper connotation.

    To me, the Neo Theos are basically bastardized political groups that corrupt their religion and politics by trying to make them synergic.

    The recent deaths of Falwell and Kennedy are important because Falwel's son doesn't seem to have the political aspirations his father had, and Kennedy left no dynasty that I know of.

    Dobson should expire soon and his son is a dyslexic jesus freak skateboarder.

    Pat Robertson's son has none of the political savvy of his father so the power house of the old RR is waning.

    With the implosion of Ted Haggard I think people are a bit tired of being bullied by these egotist pseudo politician preachers.

    It is apparant that the RRs influence is waning- they couldn't stop Obama.

    Bu8t, make no mystake, they will be back in the fray. They are back in their corner now licking their wounds and strategizing.

    We've gone through the "Moral Majority" and the "Values Voter" stages. I am wondering how they will re-brand themselves for 2012.

  9. WEM,
    I'll join you with a shot of Stoli on the rocks with two drops of Roses Lime juice!


Unlike Ray we don't censor our comments, so as long as it's on topic and not spam, fire away.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.