Kenya and the Creationists: An Update

The National Museum of Kenya has been involved in a lomg running dispute with creationists over how the museum displays it’s vast trove of hominin fossils. Times Online has an update.


Apparently, Bishop Boniface Adoyo is calling for demonstrations outside the museum and along the way pulls out some of the usual creationists nonsense:

“I do not dispute that as humans we have a history, but my family most certainly did not descend from the apes,” he said. The bishop was invited to view the new Human Origins gallery before it opened this month, and said that he would call on his flock to demonstrate outside the museum if evolution was described as anything other than merely a theory.
“Bits of it are being disproved by scientists every day,” he said. “Yet it’s being taught in our schools to children – a theory being taught as fact.”

Richard Leakey gives the only appropriate response:

“Science is at the very foundation of our ability to deal with the new century, so if we bring it down to the idea that science may be unChristian . . . well, how stupid can you get?”

Case in point. The article mentions that this is “…the most complete record of the evolution of Man…” (Note to Times Online: Please refrain from the use of such sexist language in the future) and right on cue a comment to the article says:

What the article is saying isn’t that these Kenyans are protesting the Theory of Darwinism/Accidental Evolution, but rather that this theory is presented as FACT or LAW. This puts a very different spin on the presentation, and you can not prove evolution. Primarily due to the lack of intermediate species to be found in today’s world or in the fossil record [emphasis mine – afarensis].

11 Responses

  1. How come you omitted all of the stuff the bishop said was being disproved every day? I’m sure he must have provided a copious array of examples.

  2. I liked the Bishop’s comment, “my family most certainly did not descend from the apes”. I presume he accepts all other families did. Reminds me of my father. He used to say, “You people might have come from apes but the old man was created”. It was a joke of course. Unlike the Bishop he was fully aware of the impossibility.

  3. Why didn’t somebody with a sense of history immediately say, “The Lord has delivered him into my hands”?

  4. Ooh, I know you just love headlines like this: Scientists unearth ‘missing link’ jawbone

  5. God d&^% missing f$#&*@g link!

  6. “The article mentions that this is “…the most complete record of the evolution of Man…” (Note to Times Online: Please refrain from the use of such sexist language in the future)…”
    Oh, nonsense. “Man” is a perfectly proper word to indicate humanity as a whole. It is clear from the context (and the fanciful capitalization) that no intent to be sexist exists here.

  7. Nope, it went out of style a while ago. About the time folks started going “Evolution of Man? What about Women?”

  8. “Nope, it went out of style a while ago.”
    What has “style” got to do with anything? The question isn’t whether the use is fashionable but whether your libelous attribution of “sexism” to the author was justified. And clearly it was not.
    “About the time folks started going ‘Evolution of Man? What about Women?'”
    Do we always ascribe changes to the language because some “folks” are ignorant or emotionally immature? Do we change spellings because silly people are too ignorant and lazy to learn how to spell, or is it just definitions and word usage?
    Just because you really, really, really wish it were otherwise does not change the fact that one definition of the word “man” is “humanity.” (It’s similar to creationism. They, too, really, really, really wish the world was other than what it is.)
    Indeed, your pithy expression demonstrates the fallacy, as “Man” and “Women” in that statement are not even grammatically equal. That, in the presence of even rudimentary reasoning skills, should lead one to conclude that the objection is invalid.

  9. The generic use of the term “Man” hasn’t been used in anthropology for quite a while. The reason it hasn’t been used is because it was considered, whether you like it or not, to be sexist.

  10. “The generic use of the term ‘Man’ hasn’t been used in anthropology for quite a while.”
    And yet it is still regularly used to mean “humanity” by the general populace and by writers for the Times of London.
    “The reason it hasn’t been used is because it was considered, whether you like it or not, to be sexist.”
    Oh, please; use logic, for once. While you might consider this use of the word “man” to be sexist, that does not mean that everyone must share your belief. Nor does your belief change the meaning of the word. “Man” still means “humanity,” in a wholly non-sexist manner, even if you would choose not to use it in that fashion.
    More importantly, just because you consider it to be sexist does not mean that this author’s use of “man” to mean “humanity” was, in fact, sexist. Prejudice is in the mind, not in the vocabulary. And there is absolutely nothing in this article or this usage that even remotely suggests that the author held any sexist views. It is your accusation of sexist writing, based on nothing more than a disagreement with what it fashionable among the politically correct, that is worthy of censure: (Note to Afarensis: Please refrain from rash accusations of sexism in the future)

  11. I readily grant you that Man has a generic sense. However, there is a certain amount of sexism that has accrued to the term. This is not a matter of “political correctness”. The idea that prejudice is in the mind and not the vocabulary is incorrect (c.f. the “N” word and any number of derogatory words for any number of ethnic groups, not to mention derogatory words for women, gays, people of different religious and political persuasions, etc.). Whether or not the writer intended to be sexist is besides the point, the use of the word “Man” in this context sounds sexist. Over and above that, since paleoanthropologists stopped talking about the “Evolution of Man” and started talking about the “Evolution of Humanity” it would behoove the writer to portray the field accurately.

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