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Carry On Palaeontology


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#1    pantodragon

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 02:02 PM

Assumptions litter palaeontology, as illustrated beautifully in the book, The Complete World of Human Evolution, written by “two of the world’s foremost scientists in the field”.

These are only a few of the assumptions they quite happily, even proudly, state:

1)  All living apes and humans have a set of characteristics in common --- no tail, an appendix etc --- and it is a reasonable ASSUMPTION that their common ancestors also had them.

2) It is an ASSUMPTION that similarity in characters is based on common inheritance.

3) It is possible to make ASSUMPTIONS about the behaviour of fossil apes by studying the behaviour of living apes.

4) Olduvai: Bed I contains fossils of early hominins (Homo habilis and Paranthropus boisei) which are ASSUMED to be the same age as Bed I.

5) The fossil animals in Bed I of Olduvai are similar to some found in beds which contain fossils of Paranthropus boisei in northern Kenya.  These fossil animals of northern Kenya are therefore ASSUMED to be the same age as those at Olduvai.

6) The use of carbon-14 to date fossils is based on the ASSUMPTION of a constant rate of production of carbon-14 in the past.

7)  Palaeo-ecology:  The principles of ecology are ASSUMED to apply to palaeo-ecology i.e. it is ASSUMED the principles that apply to modern environments also apply to “fossil” environments.

8)  Of the two species of hominins found in Beds I and II (Olduvai), the later species was ASSUMED to be the toolmaker (referring to tools found in both beds along with the fossil hominins).

9)  The ASSUMPTION that the last common ancestor of apes and humans did not have a tail is based on the fact that all living apes and humans lack a tail.

…………………………..etc.  There are so many "assumptions" that one could almost believe this to be a religion: the House of the Assumption.


Palaeontologists clearly see no problem with the fact that their discipline is based entirely on ASSUMPTIONS.  Its very foundations are dangerously unstable, riddled with rot, yet palaeontologists carry on regardless --- the Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey and Joan Sims school of palaeoanthropology.

Edited by pantodragon, 27 April 2013 - 02:04 PM.


#2    freetoroam

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 02:42 PM

Well without them, there would be no assumptions at all.

In an ideal World a law would be passed were NO guns were allowed and all those out there destroyed, trouble is the law makers are not going to take a risk of trying to pass that without making sure they are armed first.

#3    Swede

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 02:45 PM

View Postpantodragon, on 27 April 2013 - 02:02 PM, said:

6) The use of carbon-14 to date fossils is based on the ASSUMPTION of a constant rate of production of carbon-14 in the past.


Grossly incorrect on two counts:

1) Radiocarbon dating can only be utilized for the dating of organic specimens. A fully permineralized osteological/floral element no longer contains organic material.

2) The fluctuations in atmospheric 14C were recognized and initially published at a quite early date (de Vries 1958, 1959). This is only nine years after the publication of the radiocarbon methodology by Libby in 1949. The recognition of these fluctuations led to the advent of calibration studies and programs, which have reached an appreciable level of accuracy and are continuously being further refined (see CALIB, Ox Cal).

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#4    pantodragon

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 02:50 PM

View Postfreetoroam, on 27 April 2013 - 02:42 PM, said:

Well without them, there would be no assumptions at all.

Oh, I don't know.  I think I'm pretty good with assumptions myself: everyone on this forum is knitting with only one needle; there's nothing you can do on the internet which you couldn't do by snail; all scientists are two cards short of a full pack..................


#5    pantodragon

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 02:55 PM

View PostSwede, on 27 April 2013 - 02:45 PM, said:

Grossly incorrect on two counts:

1) Radiocarbon dating can only be utilized for the dating of organic specimens. A fully permineralized osteological/floral element no longer contains organic material.

2) The fluctuations in atmospheric 14C were recognized and initially published at a quite early date (de Vries 1958, 1959). This is only nine years after the publication of the radiocarbon methodology by Libby in 1949. The recognition of these fluctuations led to the advent of calibration studies and programs, which have reached an appreciable level of accuracy and are continuously being further refined (see CALIB, Ox Cal).

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Since I was merely quoting, it would seem that your experts disagree with my experts.........so what's new then?


#6    Swede

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 06:06 PM

View Postpantodragon, on 27 April 2013 - 02:55 PM, said:

Since I was merely quoting, it would seem that your experts disagree with my experts.........so what's new then?

And whom, pray tell, were you quoting? Citations please. No one even remotely familiar with radiocarbon dating would make the claim that fully permineralized specimens can be dated using this methodology.

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#7    Rlyeh

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 06:14 PM

View Postpantodragon, on 27 April 2013 - 02:02 PM, said:

2) It is an ASSUMPTION that similarity in characters is based on common inheritance.
It is a FACT we share genes. Perhaps you'd like to explain how genes are passed on without inheritance?


#8    pantodragon

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 02:59 PM

Another wee gem from “The Complete World of Human Evolution”:

The concepts of Evolutionary Psychology are being used to explain palaeontological puzzles, such as the appearance of enormous handaxes.  These tools are so big that they are actually useless as axes.  What then, ask the psychologists, could they have been used for?  And some have come up with the suggestion that they had a social function: they were a male status symbol and would have had “a selective value in terms of reproductive success”.

This interpretation is, of course, the sort of nonsense academics come up with because they rely on their intellect, on reason and logic to do their thinking.  And they are far too serious to boot.  It doesn’t cross their minds that ancient people might actually have had a sense of humour.

In the first instance, just think about it: what female is going to select a mate who can’t make a tool that is functional?  It’s not going to be much help with chopping firewood, now, is it?  She and the kids will freeze to death and probably starve too.  

But practicalities aside, have Evolutionary Psychologists never watched Life of Brian?  Have they never heard of Bigus Dickus?   Or imagine these enormous handaxes used as props in a Carry On Cave Man film.  Imagine them hung round the waists of Sid James and Charles Hawtrey, and then you’ll really find out what these gigantic handaxes were about!!!!

And the above is, actually, a serious point.  What makes caricature so funny is that it is accurate --- it doesn’t miss and hit the wall.  If palaeontologists really want insight into human nature, they should be watching the Carry On films and Life of Brian and applying those concepts to the past!


PS: A relative of mine (called Alex) was nicknamed Big Axe.  His son was subsequently dubbed Hatchet, Son of Axe.


#9    Daughter of the Nine Moons

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:23 PM

Merged- pantodragon,
There is no need to start a new topic every time you post. If you are continuing a subject you have already started please make additional posts in that topic.
Thank you

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#10    pantodragon

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:43 PM

View PostSwede, on 27 April 2013 - 06:06 PM, said:

And whom, pray tell, were you quoting? Citations please. No one even remotely familiar with radiocarbon dating would make the claim that fully permineralized specimens can be dated using this methodology.

.

Why are you making such a big thing about this?  Even if I misquoted, (I'm not going to re-red the book to check), all it means is that palaeontology is built on only 571 instead of 572 assumptions!  (Please don't be TOO literal here. I've probably wildly underestimated.)


#11    pantodragon

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:48 PM

View PostRlyeh, on 27 April 2013 - 06:14 PM, said:

It is a FACT we share genes. Perhaps you'd like to explain how genes are passed on without inheritance?

You'd need to explain to the experts I'm quoting from.  Actually, you need to think a little more on the subject yourself.  The issue is not whether I can give an alternative explanation about how characteristics are passed on, the issue that an assumption has been made.  Which it has, even i9f you can't see it.


#12    Raczack

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:30 PM

View Postpantodragon, on 29 April 2013 - 03:43 PM, said:

Why are you making such a big thing about this?  Even if I misquoted, (I'm not going to re-red the book to check), all it means is that palaeontology is built on only 571 instead of 572 assumptions!  (Please don't be TOO literal here. I've probably wildly underestimated.)
So you are forcing us to assume that you actually have sources? We have far less reason to make that assumption than we do to any of the assumptions in your original post.

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#13    pantodragon

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:39 PM

View PostRaczack, on 29 April 2013 - 04:30 PM, said:

So you are forcing us to assume that you actually have sources?


I'm not forcing you to do anything.  Just like the next person, I can lie.  Unlike the next person, I can also tell the truth.................However,there is no real problem if you know where to look: " Even with truths that lie too deep for taint".


#14    Swede

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 11:30 PM

View Postpantodragon, on 29 April 2013 - 03:43 PM, said:

Why are you making such a big thing about this? Even if I misquoted, (I'm not going to re-red the book to check), all it means is that palaeontology is built on only 571 instead of 572 assumptions!  (Please don't be TOO literal here. I've probably wildly underestimated.)

1) In recent history you have presented quiet a number of soliloquies based upon a notable lack of understanding in regards to the matters upon which you choose to espouse.

2) While your ill-informed comments would not appear to be direct quotes (far too erroneous), the direct utilization of the significant thoughts of others is also considered to be a form of plagiarism. Thus, citations are a requisite. Plagiarism is not a matter to be taken lightly, whether on these pages or, more particularly, within professional realms.

3) Your lack of understanding in regards to radiocarbon dating is merely one of the more glaring examples of your lack of knowledge/understanding in regards to your various poorly constructed "critiques".

4) As another example, the datings utilized in the interpretations of Olduvai are not assumptions, but are based upon K-Ar/Ar-Ar dating along with osteological, environmental, and lithic analysis data, to name but a few.

5) Your understandings in regards to archaeological research are yet another example of your profoundly lacking knowledge base.

My personal time is often quite limited. However, should you choose to select specific points, one at a time, these can be addressed and qualified references provided. By proceeding in such a manner, it would be hoped that you will be provided with information that will allow you to avoid further personal embarrassment.

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#15    FurthurBB

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:29 AM

View Postpantodragon, on 27 April 2013 - 02:50 PM, said:

Oh, I don't know.  I think I'm pretty good with assumptions myself: everyone on this forum is knitting with only one needle; there's nothing you can do on the internet which you couldn't do by snail; all scientists are two cards short of a full pack..................

I guess when you only have 2 cards in your deck everyone else seems a little short.





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