A small newspaper in Michigan, the Argus Leader, has had quite a series of letters to the editor over the last few weeks after printing an article about Dick DeVos and his position that ID ought to be taught. You’ll get a good laugh out of this one from a youth minister named Jerod Jordan. He talks about how much research he’s done to conclude that evolution is wrong while simultaneously proving his utter ignorance even of the standard creationist nonsense as he trots out the tried-and-false Piltdown Man and Nebraska Man.
In 1912, a scientist named Charles Dawson, a medical doctor and amateur paleontologist, discovered a mandible and skull in a gravel pit near Piltdown, England.
The jaw bone was ape-like, but the teeth had human characteristics.
The two pieces were combined to form “Dawn Man,” who was supposed to be about 500,000 years old. After several critical advances in science, the whole thing was proven to be an elaborate hoax.
I don’t know where “Dawn Man” comes from; the find was named Piltdown Man. But what on earth is his point? Yes, a hoax was perpetrated nearly 100 years ago in England. Scientists, recognizing that the find was extremely anomolous compared with all the other hominid fossils, discovered the hoax when new dating techniques allowed more detailed testing. And this is a problem….why? It’s a textbook example of how science is self-correcting and how false data is discovered and corrected.
In 1922, a mysterious Mr. Cook discovered a tooth in the Pliocene deposits in Nebraska that was used to produce a photo of “Nebraska Man” and his wife, which was published in the London Daily News. All from a single tooth.
I love that first line: the mysterious Mr. Cook. I’m not sure what exactly is supposed to be so mysterious about him. Harold Cook was a rancher and amateur geologist from Nebraska, found the tooth on his property in 1917 and sent it to HF Osborn, a paleontologist from the American Museum of Natural History. There was no “photo” of Nebraska Man and his wife; there was a drawing of such, but it was from the Illustrated London News, not the London Daily News.
That picture was an artist’s imagination and it had nothing at all to do with Osborn’s report on the find. Indeed, Osborn himself said that “such a drawing or ‘reconstruction’ would doubtless be only a figment of the imagination of no scientific value, and undoubtedly inaccurate.” Osborn himself had been very careful to note in his 1922 article that he was speculating that the tooth, which was highly weathered, might belong to a simian or hominid, but that much more research was needed:
“I have not stated that Hesperopithecus was either an Ape-man or in the direct line of human ancestry, because I consider it quite possible that we may discover anthropoid apes (Simiidae) with teeth closely imitating those of man (Hominidae), …”
“Until we secure more of the dentition, or parts of the skull or of the skeleton, we cannot be certain whether Hesperopithecus is a member of the Simiidae or of the Hominidae.”
Yet creationists still peddle this tired and ridiculous notion that “scientists” constructed a whole human being from a pig’s tooth. And lies like this one:
This same tooth was used as irrefutable evidence to the existence of evolution during the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925.
Bzzzt. Thank you for playing. This is nonsense. There was no scientific testimony at all in the Scopes trial, the judge refused to allow any because it was not relevant to the question of whether Scopes had broken the law. This is yet another creationist tall tale that will not die.
When the remainder of the skeleton was discovered in 1927, it became readily apparent that it was nothing more than the tooth of an extinct pig.
This is almost true. No one knows if they actually found the remainder of the skeleton that the tooth came from, but they did go back and dig at the same site and found that the tooth likely belonged to a peccary, an extinct descendant of modern pigs. But again, what on earth is his point? That 80 years ago, a scientist made a very tentative identification of a fossil that turned out to be true and was retracted immediately? So what?
There are many other examples of how evolutionary thought is based on erroneous data.
Yes, of course there are. That’s why you had to go back nearly a full century to find two highly distorted examples. Just more of the same nonsense from creationists.