Paleoanthropology

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Paleoanthropology is a interdisciplinary branch of anthropology that concerns itself with the origins of early humans and it examines and evaluates items such as fossils and artifacts.[1] In addition, according the American Heritage Science Dictionary paleoanthropology is the study of "extinct members of the genus Homo sapiens by means of their fossil remains." [2]

Dr. David Pilbeam is a paleoanthropologist who received his Ph.D. at Yale University and Dr. Pilbeam is presently Professor of Social Sciences at Harvard University and Curator of Paleontology at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.[3] In addition, Dr. Pilbeam served as an advisor for the Kenya government regarding the creation of an international institute for the study of human origins.[4]

Dr. Pilbeam wrote a review of Richard Leakey's book Origins in the journal American Scientist and he stated the following:

...perhaps generations of students of human evolution, including myself, have been flailing about in the dark; that our data base is too sparse, too slippery, for it to be able to mold our theories. Rather the theories are more statements about us and ideology than about the past. Paleoanthropology reveals more about how humans view themselves than it does about how humans came about. But that is heresy. [5]

Dr. Pilbeam also wrote:

I am also aware of the fact that, at least in my own subject of paleoanthropology, "theory" - heavily influenced by implicit ideas almost always dominates "data". ....Ideas that are totally unrelated to actual fossils have dominated theory building, which in turn strongly influence the way fossils are interpreted.[6]

Similarly, Lord Solly Zuckerman who was professor of anatomy at Birmingham University in England and who was a chief scientific adviser to the British government wrote:

"We then move right off the register of objective truth into those fields of presumed biological science, like extrasensory perception or the interpretation of man's fossil history, where to the faithful anything is possible - and where the ardent believer is sometimes able to believe several contradictory things at the same time." - Lord Solly Zuckerman, Beyond The Ivory Tower, Toplinger Publications, New York, 1970, p. 19.[7][8]
Dr. Tim White, anthropologist at the University of California-Berkeley, gave the name "Flipperpithecus" to a supposed "humanoid species" arising from a fossil find that is most likely part of a dolphin's rib.

Lord Solly Zuckerman's commentary above helps explain embarrassments to the paleoanthropology field as Piltdown Man, Nebraska man, and the fossil find that was dubbed "Flipperpithecus".

Evolutionist and Harvard professor Richard Lewontin wrote in 1995 that "Despite the excited and optimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor...."[9] In the September 2005 issue of National Geographic, Joel Achenbach asserted that human evolution is a "fact" but he also candidly admitted that in regards to the field of paleoanthropology that "Today the field has again become a rather glorious mess."[10] [11] In the same National Geographic article Harvard paleoanthropologist Dan Lieberman states, "We're not doing a very good job of being honest about what we don't know...".[12]

In regards to the pictures of the supposed ancestors of man featured in science journals and the news media Boyce Rensberger wrote in the journal Science the following regarding their highly speculative nature:

Unfortunately, the vast majority of artist's conceptions are based more on imagination than on evidence. But a handful of expert natural-history artists begin with the fossil bones of a hominid and work from there…. Much of the reconstruction, however, is guesswork. Bones say nothing about the fleshy parts of the nose, lips, or ears. Artists must create something between an ape and a human being; the older the specimen is said to be, the more apelike they make it.... Hairiness is a matter of pure conjecture. [13][14]

Creationist scientists concur with Dr. Pilbeam regarding the speculative nature of the field of paleoantropology and assert there is no compelling evidence in the field of paleoanthropology for the theory of evolution.[15][16][17]

References

  1. Encyclopedia Britannica (online): Paleoanthropology
  2. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/paleoanthropology
  3. Dr. David Pilbeam: Brief Biography
  4. Answers in Genesis, Those Fossils Are A Problem
  5. Sean Pitman, M.D., Thoughts on Evolution From Scientists and Other Intellectuals
  6. Sean Pitman, M.D., Thoughts on Evolution From Scientists and Other Intellectuals
  7. Sean Pitman, M.D., Early Man
  8. Solly Zuckerman: Biography
  9. Brad Harrub, Ph.D., Bert Thompson, Ph.D., and Eric Lyons, M.Min., Human Evolution and the “Record of the Rocks”
  10. Brad Harrub, Ph.D., The “Glorious Mess” of Human Origins
  11. National Geographic (online edition), Joel Achenbach, PALEOANTHROPOLOGY, Out of Africa, Are we looking for bones in all the right places?
  12. National Geographic (online edition), Joel Achenbach, PALEOANTHROPOLOGY, Out of Africa, Are we looking for bones in all the right places?
  13. Frank Sherwin, M.A., "Human Evolution" An Update
  14. Bert Thompson, P.H.D. and Brad Harrub, P.H.D., 15 Answers to John Rennie and Scientific American's Nonsense
  15. Creation Ministries International, [http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/3048 Anthropology and Apeman Questions and Answers
  16. Answers in Genesis, Anthropology and Apeman Questions and Answers
  17. Brad Harrub, Ph.D., Bert Thompson, Ph.D., and Eric Lyons, M.Min., Human Evolution and the “Record of the Rocks”
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