Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lucy: The Evidence For Evolution

I was quite young when Donald Johanson's book Lucy - The Beginnings Of Humankind was published in 1981. But, I read it and was captivated with the compelling story that it portrayed of how humankind as we know it today came to be.

In some respects, I've always thought of Lucy as the answer to the creationist arguments about the so-called "missing link". I realize that Lucy's story is far from complete even today, but it represents a great example of why evolution as a scientific model works.

Consider the story of Lucy's Foot that just emerged. Here's another piece of evidence that fills in some of the questions that were outstanding after the original work on Lucy was published in the mass media. Now we have good evidence that shows that Australopithecus Afarensis walked upright more or less the way that we do, which reinforces the idea that there is more than a small chance that the species is one of the predecessors of what becomes Homo Sapiens.

The beauty of the model of evolution is that every time new evidence is found, it either fits into the theory as it is already understood. Once in a while, a piece of evidence comes forth that changes the specific understanding of a particular line of the fossil record, but it doesn't result in the theory itself suffering a major change. ... and yet the theoretical construct itself stands open to refutation the moment that a fossil is found which contradicts the tenets of the theory.

Creationists can complain all they like, but the fact is that the body of evidence found to date fits the model that evolution postulates. You can argue that the earth is flat all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that the world is in fact a globe, does it?

I look forward to hearing what the creationists have to say in their efforts to dismiss this latest piece of the puzzle.

1 comment:

Halle said...

People who believe in magic can come up with all kinds of amazing nonsense.

I particularly like the "The devil put all of this stuff there so that humans could find it and be deceived" version of reality. It just about covers all possibilities, doesn't it?