Tuesday, May 29, 2012

When Science Isn't Settled

Always take "the-end-is-nigh" stuff with a grain of salt:

Noted paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey predicts skepticism over evolution will soon be history.

Not that the avowed atheist has any doubts himself.

Sometime in the next 15 to 30 years, the Kenyan-born Leakey expects scientific discoveries will have accelerated to the point that "even the skeptics can accept it."

"If you get to the stage where you can persuade people on the evidence, that it's solid, that we are all African, that colour is superficial, that stages of development of culture are all interactive," Leakey says, "then I think we have a chance of a world that will respond better to global challenges."

Leakey, a professor at Stony Brook University on Long Island, recently spent several weeks in New York promoting the Turkana Basin Institute in Kenya. The institute, where Leakey spends most of his time, welcomes researchers from around the world dedicated to unearthing the origins of mankind in an area rich with fossils.

His friend, Paul Simon, performed at a May 2 fundraiser for the institute in Manhattan that collected more than $2 million. A National Geographic documentary on his work at Turkana aired this month on public television.

Now 67, Leakey is the son of the late Louis and Mary Leakey and conducts research with his wife, Meave, and daughter, Louise. The family claims to have unearthed "much of the existing fossil evidence for human evolution."

On the eve of his return to Africa earlier this week, Leakey spoke to The Associated Press in New York City about the past and the future.

"If you look back, the thing that strikes you, if you've got any sensitivity, is that extinction is the most common phenomena," Leakey says. "Extinction is always driven by environmental change. Environmental change is always driven by climate change.

Man accelerated, if not created, planet change phenomena; I think we have to recognize that the future is by no means a very rosy one."

Any hope for mankind's future, he insists, rests on accepting existing scientific evidence of its past.

"If we're spreading out across the world from centres like Europe and America that evolution is nonsense and science is nonsense, how do you combat new pathogens, how do you combat new strains of disease that are evolving in the environment?" he asked.

Yes, about that:

Though the debate is often framed as evolution versus Creationism,one must remember that the Theory of Evolution is still a theory no matter how emphatically stated that the science is or will be settled. Its leaps of evolutionary logic not withstanding, Dr. Leakey unfortunately forgets that extinction can also be, quite sadly, at the hands of a modern species of Homo that has wiped out the Beothuk and the Japanese whose near possible extinction has very little to do with environmental changes. Skin cultural is superficial? Stages of cultural development are interactive? Isn't skin colour biological? Aren't cultural aspects at odds with other cultural aspects?

Not seeing the loose ends tied up here.



Anonymous said...

"Theory of Evolution is still a theory no matter how emphatically stated that the science is or will be settled."

Things evolve. That's fact. The races of man came about through evolution. Dogs differentiated from other wolves through evolution. Flightless chickens came about through evolution. A process of small changes expressed, magnified and/or added to through successive generations.

A better way to say that would be "speciation" has yet to be proven and the exact means and steps by which you claim species evolved hasn't been proven.

Plus, it should be "evolution VS creationism" as creationism is the idea that God (or for other religions, gods) created the physical universe and life is created, so an event, and evolution is a process and series of events in which life changes. this is why there are people who believe both.

"Extinction is always driven by environmental change. Environmental change is always driven by climate change."

What about the introduction of new, invasive species? Such as the death of the dodo by introducing the pig? The death of austrlian birds by introducing foxes and cats?

What about the emergence of pathogens suchs as bacteria, viruses or parasytic fungii?

Reminds me of something Lord Monckton said about gatherign funds for research. just put it "in the context of climate change."

~Your Brother~

Osumashi Kinyobe said...

The evolution vs. creationism arguments are ploys to frame the debate between the allegedly reasonable and the allegedly unreasonable. The climate point stood up like a red flag. No history student he.

But, yes, I see what you mean.