In my previous post I shared a link to NCSE’s images of an intelligent design vs. evolution from the banana-toting, Darwin-bashing creationist Ray Comfort. Here’s one of the images, showing a card from the game that uses this quote:
“Scientists conced that their most cherished theories are based on embarassingly few fossil fragments and that huge gaps exst in the fossil record.”
A citation is given, that’s a good step: Time magazine, November 7, 1977. So, what is this quote in reference to? What’s the context. The quote comes from an article titled “Puzzling Out Man’s Ascent” (all online, thanks Rob Igo, for the link) and here is where it falls:
These developments, probably more than any others, hastened the differentiation between man and earlier hominids. Explains Anthropologist Charles Kimberlin (“Bob”) Brain of the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria, South Africa: “Meat eating and hunting were important factors. If you remained a vegetarian, the necessity for culture was not nearly as great.” Richard Leakey too believes that hunting helped to make emerging man a social creature. Says he: “The hominids that thrived best were those able to restrain their immediate impulses and manipulate the impulses of others into cooperative efforts. They were the vanguard of the human race.”
Still, doubts about the sequence of man’s emergence remain.
Scientists concede that even their most cherished theories are based on embarrassingly few fossil fragments, and that huge gaps exist in the fossil record. Anthropologists, ruefully says Alan Mann of the University of Pennsylvania, “are like the blind men looking at the elephant, each sampling only a small part of the total reality.” His colleagues agree that the picture of man’s origins is far from complete.
Perhaps no one is trying harder to fill in the blanks than Richard Leakey. Picking up where his father Louis left off at his death in 1972, Richard—with his Lake Turkana discoveries —has already moved to the forefront of modern anthropology. Now he is reaching out to coordinate research throughout East Africa and taking the lead in sorting and assembling the thousands of fragments of evidence that may someday reveal the secrets of man’s origins.
Oh, the article discusses human evolution, not evolution of life on earth generally. Gee, Ray, do you think you could have clarified that? And, it’s not like any work in paleoanthropology has occurred over the last three decades.
Beware, quote-mining occurs in games, too! More important, do I have to give up my brain?