Ardi appears in the nick of time

Ardi

Scientists on October 1st unveiled a fossil human ancestor dating back 4.4 million years — a creature more ancient than the famous fossil “Lucy.” And, the scientists say, even more important than Lucy.

The team that discovered the fossil, called Ardipithicus ramidus, say it’s the closest thing yet found to the common ancestor of both chimps and humans. That common ancestor is thought to have lived about 6 million years ago. From that animal, chimps and other apes evolved in one direction, while our own ancestors, the hominids, evolved through several forms into what we are now.

The anthropologists found the bones in Ethiopia, in a desert region called Aramis. Scientists have previously discovered a few teeth and bones of Ardipithicus, dating from 5 to 6 million years ago. But in this case, they have more than 100 bones from 36 individuals, including a partial skeleton of a female whom they’ve dubbed “Ardi.”

I don’t think I’ve seen a more ludicrous argument than this, by an evolutionist whom I thought was going to put up some good evidence why Christianity and Evolution are incompatible but instead came out with:

Before you raise the “separate magisteria” and “different-ways-of-knowing-about-the-world” arguments for the inherent compatibility of faith and science, have a gander at this article from the Telegraph. The Taliban are preventing children in Pakistan from getting polio vaccine. If this isn’t a direct confrontation between science and faith, I don’t know what is. o.k., Drs. Polkinghorne and Haught, deal with this. Polio vaccine is proven to work: it’s one of the most effective vaccines around. Scientific research has shown this. The faithful reject it on religious grounds.

Talk of “separate magisteria” might lead you to think you’re dealing with an intellectual here – a Scientist.  This is the problem with the arch-“rationalist” who will admit no phenomena except the tangible.  What does he make of blackholes?  What does he make of believers recovering agains tthe odds?  What does he make of UFOs?

The dogmatic “Christian” – what does he make of Ardi?  Even accepting that there is a lot of lying going on by the biological community desperate to find the link between the apes and homo sapiens, a link for which there is good evidence and nothing more, in the same way that the miracles of Jesus were attested to but the other side doesn’t want to concede the slightest amount to – given all that, let’s go along with Ardi.

C. Owen Lovejoy of Kent State University, speaking in Washington [said that]  it pushes back the likely date of the split between the two lines to between six and nine million years ago, he said.

“For years, because of the genetic similarity of chimps and humans, it’s been presumed that our ancestor would have been chimplike. Ardi tells us that’s not the case,” Lovejoy said.

Ardi shows that unlike modern apes, which are knuckle-walkers, her species — and all the ancestors of all apes and humans — descended from a common ancestor that in turn was not a knuckle-walker.

So homo sapiens came about complete as homo sapiens, something Christians have no problem with.

Sorted.  Next?

Debating, legitimacy and arguing logically

There are a few issues all rolled into one here and they all need addressing.

1.  We are, most of us, too busy to worry about petty issues. This blogger will be blogging more lightly from time to time, especially in the next few days and there are RL issues pressing down which need my thought and lateral resolution – issues of bread to eat and a roof over the head.

I’m sorry but in that context, blog arguments come second.  Not only that but the blog itself – especially the new one in its still embryonic form – is not some sacrosanct, revered item one lives and dies for – it’s just a convenient forum for ideas.

2.  If a blogger lays out a policy, then it’s wise for him to look at people’s comments on that policy and to keep that in the back of the mind for future reference.  That policy though, might well be there as a result of long experience of the consequences of not having it.

It peeves some.

A year or more ago, someone left a comment [still up] saying something along the lines of F— you James, with your F—ing stupid f—ing comments policy.  That’s the last you’ll see of me.  Good luck with your blog.

Similar to someone yesterday, without all the effings.

I’m truly sorry about that because no one likes to lose readers, especially readers who contribute so much to the debate, surely the type of reader the political blogger wants.  However, comments policy is comments policy.

3.  On this blog, anyone out in the public arena is fair game for comments of whatever ilk and with as much “language” as the blog can bear – “language” is a valid way of emphasizing a point.  However, when it crosses from “that was a total load of bollocks” to “you’re an effing moron”, then I step in because the latter is ad hominem and doesn’t advance the argument.

Attack the idea with maximum prejudice but lay off the speaker of the bollocks him/herself and instead, fisk his argument.  That’s what I intend to do with the ridiculous argument yesterday which asked the question: “If this is a Yes vote today, are you going to challenge it?”

It’s a logical non sequitur because the principle at stake is not tit-for-tat equivalence but:

1.  Is the people’s voice in a referendum sacrosanct or not?  That is, if the people are called out to vote and they vote, then is that an end of the matter or is it not?  If not, why not?  Because to say it isn’t, to say that “this needs to be reviewed from time to time” denies the rule of law and the voice of the ordinary man and woman as being the governing principle.  It says that because the government doesn’t like something, it shall be done again.

2.  The idea that we elect representatives who then have the power to do exactly as they wish in parliament and take no heed of the people’s voices thereafter is a very dangerous principle which cuts at the whole basis of free society which we were under the illusion that we were operating in and substitutes a totalitarian model instead.

That’s what all the discussion around the web has been about, those are the principles at stake, not some spurious and mocking gybe about whether we will accept a Yes vote as legitimate.

The answer is “No.”  No, it is not legitimate because the people had already spoken one year earlier.  There is also no precedent in western “democracies” for a referendum to be run again because a government doesn’t like the result.

Point to any other national referendum in the west which has been overturned on the grounds that the result was wrong.

You can’t and it is disingenouous to suggest that to do so is in any way legitimate.

Ode to the Chinese motherland

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Please, decadent westerners, join with us this night in a celebration of Great China and all she stands for on her 60th Anniversary [don’t forget to beam].  As the leader reminds us:

Behind the close relationship between CPC leaders and the people is the “Mass Line,” the fundamental work method of the CPC, which means “all for the masses, all rely on the masses” and “from the masses, to the masses.” The “Mass Line” has been cherished by the CPC as a guarantee to achieve victories in its cause.

Tibetans adore being part of the celebrations:

Tibetan girl Ngawang Qungji said she was excited that President Hu joined hands with Tibetan and Uygur performers to dance.

“We are just like the members of the same family and celebrate our mother’s birthday together,” she said. “There are so many reasons for us to be proud of the great changes over the past 60 years,” she said. “I even couldn’t help crying when I saw the fireworks portraying a train running on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway lighted the Tian’anmen Square.”

Oh yeah.  I remember crying over the Qinghai-Tibet Railway as well.  The Dalai Llama and I sat up half the night crying.

Roman – it’s quite OK.

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Sarah Palin – will she walk into the White House?

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Who says Sarah Palin would be a disaster?

Steve Schmidt is the highest ranking former member of McCain’s inner circle to openly criticize Palin. He has largely remained silent since the election, being one of the few McCain staff members privy to the entire vice presidential selection process.

Partisan political allies have blamed Schmidt for unflattering leaks — including the famous, unattributed quote that Palin had “gone rogue” in the final weeks of the campaign. Schmidt has denied being the source of the leaks, though he has acknowledged tensions with Palin during the campaign.

I’d like to know your views.  In the poll in the sidebar, the question is asked whether you see her as a GOP asset, liability or would incur indifference in 2012.