Monday, 23 November 2015

More YEC confusion on Homo naledi from Creation Ministries International

YEC responses to the spectacular Homo naledi find have been predictably hopeless, with ICR and AiG commissioning non-experts (geology and medicine) to hand-wave away the findings. The former claim that the Homo naledi fossils are actually a mosaic of modern animal and modern human, implying that the Homo naledi team are either incompetent or dishonest in making such a mistake, while the latter simply declare them to be non-human animals. That two YEC organisations fails to agree on what these fossils represent is hardly new - YECs have failed to reliably classify hominin skulls in the past, which both attests to the fact that the fossils they were examining are transitional, as well as their incompetence in the field of palaeoanthropology.

Now, Creation Ministries International, the third of the three major YEC apologetics organisations has weighed in with yet another non-expert opinion (neuroscience), claiming that they were human, but with pathological features. Three YEC views. All from non-experts. All failing to agree on what Homo naledi represent. YEC is a broken reed which will pierce the hand of all who lean on it.

Joel Duff continues his series of articles on Homo naledi by looking at CMI's response, which as he notes involves a lot of speculation by the CMI author:
Line’s article for CMI takes no definitive position on what species the bones represent but he begins with the initial assumption that they may be members of Homo erectus:  “As I regard members assigned to Homo erectus as consisting of mostly humans, i.e., descendants of Adam and Eve, this analysis will investigate whether Homo naledi are a group of humans, possibly Homo erectus-like.”   From there he proceeds to look at various portions of the skeleton of Homo nadeli and it is apparent that he is attempting to interpret the bones in ways that will make them fit within the variation found in Homo erectus and sometimes Homo florensiensis.  But to do so he has to invoke multiple pathological conditions which he hypothesizes may be the result of iodine and sunlight deficiencies. He also speculates that the fossils may be the remains of humans with cretinism.  Here is just a sampling of his admitted speculation:
The finger curvature of Homo naledi certainly appears outside the range of non-pathological modern humans, but how do we know that Homo naledi individuals did not suffer from some pathology? As discussed earlier, if the human-like hand of Homo naledi is from a human, then a possible explanation for the curved fingers is some sort of bone pathology, possibly vitamin D deficiency and/or old rickets, Another explanation, regarded as the more plausible by this author, is that it may be associated with cretinism, which is also a non-genetic condition causing bone pathology (see below discussion on Homo floresiensis).
If a modern human with cretinism can have many pathological features that mimic the so-called ‘primitive’ features of evolution, it is highly likely that robust humans, such as Homo erectus, with cretinism will have as many, if not even more such features.
This last statement is revealing because it shows that the authors is seeking to explain the features that are ape-like in the Homo naledi fossils as being only side effects of a pathological condition of a fully human descendant of Adam and Eve. It is fascinating to compare this approach to that of Answers in Genesis who attempt to do the very opposite: explain away the human-like features of Homo naledi as “one of the variations that developed among apes.”
The CMI explanation, which seeks to postulate multiple pathological disorders in order to explain away the evidence is a ludicrous ad-hoc explanation which seeks to explain away the ape-like features by appealing to pathology. Given that we are dealing with multiple fossils, which may well have been deposited over some time, the odds of all these fossils suffering from the same pathological disorder are so low as to be negligible. Once again, we have YEC hand-waving for which no substantive, peer-reviewed evidence is given.

Duff's summary chart shows how hopelessly divided all three YEC organisations are on what the Homo naledi fossils are: