Friday, October 23, 2009

...And Your Bird Can Sing

Christ Almighty! Is the science ever settled? Famed Fossil Loses Avian Perch
The feathered creature called archaeopteryx, easily the world's most famous fossil remains, had been considered the first bird since Charles Darwin's day. When researchers put its celebrity bones under the microscope recently, though, they discovered that this icon of evolution might not have been a bird at all.

An examination of its bone cells revealed for the first time that the 150-million-year-old creature had the slow growth rate of a dinosaur, not a bird, an international research team reported this month. Comparing it with other early fossils, the researchers concluded that the telltale physiology of modern birds likely didn't emerge until 20 million years or so after archaeopteryx flapped its broad wings across primordial lagoons
No, this doesn't "prove" that evolution is a hoax. But it should make any claim about the "missing link" subject to immediate suspicion. Frankly, it's amazing to me that humans - at least those who have evolved PhD's - are still credulous enough to believe that there might be a missing link out there. Missing from what? From the grand sweep of galactic history, with its countless generations born and dead, we have only pitiful scraps of bones and tissue from which to piece together the history of life. There was never a time when some creature appeared - ta daaa! - and provided a bridge to a higher form of life. I'd say the average high school graduate understands this (heh) instinctively. It's the Smart Set that believes otherwise.

Look, I was a literature major in college, so I am poorly positioned to comment on matters scientific. Still, it seems like the metaphysical certainty that science claims to itself often comes with an expiration date. This is no knock on the scientists; they can only work with the knowledge and equipment that are available to them at the time they are working. People used to think the sun revolved around the earth because that's what the available technology (their eyes) told them. Science may be the "truth" until it is not. But, the obnoxious certainty of the "serttled science" crowd never seems to want to acknowledge this reality.

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