Thursday, May 21, 2009
Ida: "The Missing Link"
The media oversells everything. Yes, Darwinus masillae is an interesting and important find, but not nearly as much (or in the same way) as we've made it out to be. There are no "missing links" in the evolutionary tree. Species evolve slowly over time, like a slide, rather than rungs on a ladder. Don't misunderstand me, it is a fascinating find. A 47 million year old skeleton that is almost perfectly preserved, even the last meal she ate is intact. Of course, all of that is totally ignoring the fact that we might not even be descended from this species. It would be interesting if we are, but still, not groundbreaking. Science makes discoveries like this all the time. By making a big hoopla out of a petty (but interesting) scientific discovery we are only alienating the public from science (and the scientific method) even more. When we celebrate small victories like this it's almost like saying, "Hey creationists, we don't find sh*t like this very often, so suck it!" When what we should really be saying is, "Hey creationists, we found another 'transitional fossil' to heap on to the already massive pile of evidence in favor of evolution!"
If you do a Google News search the term "Darwinus masillae" you get two, count 'em, two hits. Only one of which is in English. Now search for "Ida missing link" Almost eight-hundred hits. This (and the LHC) is why mainstream media/humanity should just leave science (and thinking) to the big boys (scientists).