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My mocha lied to me! / The 'missing link' - Suffering From Elation
A Survivor's Tale
tania
tania
My mocha lied to me! / The 'missing link'
Yesterday - a pipe burst in our suburb and everyone lost mains water. Today - forgot umbrella, got rained on, fridge has somehow stopped working, accidentally hit 'stop' instead of 'snooze' on my alarm and missed my bus...

...BUT...

...hot coffee and toast is in my near future, so no complaints. Also today is payday and I'm going to obtain this completely amazing shirt:

http://shirt.woot.com/Friends.aspx?k=8901

AND the media are being retards and touting about the discovery of the "missing link", a lovely and very important fossil called 'Darwinius masillae', or 'Ida' for short. She combines human traits with primate traits... as do a bunch of fossils we already have.

Now, obviously the discovery of such a beautifully-preserved 47-million-year-old fossil - complete with discernible stomach contents and fur impressions - is FANTASTIC news. But what burns me up is that apparently certain news networks who shall remain nameless (oh alright, it's Fox and our very own, very similar Nine Network) headlined this with "Scientists have found what they believe is proof that humans evolved from primates."

There's so much wrong with that headline I don't even know where to begin.

Primarily: to refer to this as the 'missing link' is to do science a disservice, lowering it to the level of gross oversimplification that creationists have been using to try to ignore. There is no ONE missing link. There will NEVER be a single fossil discovery that will somehow breathtakingly force everyone to acknowledge the tens of thousands of other intermediate forms ('missing links', if you will) that already form the fossil record. 'Missing link' is a misnomer, a myth created by creationists. It'd be like me saying "I won't believe in God until he appears in front of me, specifically in the form of a giant purple donkey." I'm told the reality of belief is far more complex. The reality of science certainly is. What we have now is a massive body of evidence that forms an overall picture. Each discovery adds more detail to the picture, which is lovely, but the point is that we already have enough of the picture to get, well, the overall picture. Adding a tiny dot of blue paint in the left corner is not going to drastically change the content of that picture. People will either choose to look at and acknowledge the picture (picture = existing fossil record and carbon-dating) or they won't.

So relax, everyone. This isn't the missing link. It's a missing link. We're finding those constantly. That's how we know evolution happens.

If you want a more balanced piece of reporting on the lovely Ida, read this: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/05/darwinius_masillae.php

DISCLAIMER: I won't be debating evolution vs creationism in the comments. To be honest, I feel that to debate creationism lends credence to it, and I won't be a part of that, anymore than I'll debate the possible existence of fairies. Furthermore, I don't like to let people's beliefs stand in the way of friendship. This entry isn't an attack on anyone's beliefs, it's an attack on the media for bad reporting. I still love all y'all.

[EDIT] This comic says it better than I ever could! From www.phdcomics.com, linked by draconox:

33 have fought ~ fight the power!
Comments
macbeemer From: macbeemer Date: May 19th, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not even joking - I ordered that shirt less than an hour ago. xD

In other news: Fox News is controlled by douchebags. Ugh. Eyeroll.
tania From: tania Date: May 20th, 2009 12:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Is it not amazing?? I had a small coronary when I saw it. :)

Yeah, many of our Australian news networks are the same. :\ There's a loooot of rednecks out here. It makes me sad.
draconox From: draconox Date: May 20th, 2009 12:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Found your lj through reading other people's friend pages. I completely agree with your point on the science article.

This comic (http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1174) now seems very timely and appropriate. *Sigh... when will the media (especially Fox!) learn?*
tania From: tania Date: May 20th, 2009 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh man, that comic is BRILLIANT. I'm adding it to my post. Thank you! :)
leggz From: leggz Date: May 20th, 2009 12:16 am (UTC) (Link)
DISCLAIMER: I won't be debating evolution vs creationism in the comments. To be honest, I feel that to debate creationism lends credence to it, and I won't be a part of that, anymore than I'll debate the possible existence of fairies. Furthermore, I don't like to let people's beliefs stand in the way of friendship.

I freaking love you. :D And, nice shirt!
uniformgrey From: uniformgrey Date: May 20th, 2009 12:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I am all for witty t-shirt finds and fancy science finds, I am however NOT for crap networks acting like carnival barkers.
tania From: tania Date: May 20th, 2009 12:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I know. The sad thing is, science - especially biology - rarely gets a mention in the news at all. And when it does, it's grossly mishandled. I really ought to stop reading News.com.au (it's a shallow rag) but it's like McDonalds; you know it's not good for you, yet you still find yourself eating it.
stokerbramwell From: stokerbramwell Date: May 20th, 2009 12:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Frankly, the idea that Christianity and evolution should be at odds in the first place galls me to no end. It is lonely, being a theistic evolutionist. :/
tania From: tania Date: May 20th, 2009 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree. I'm not religious myself, but I have religious friends and I have no problem whatsoever with their choice. I think there are many things to like about faith.

Along those lines, one thing I like about Obama is how inclusive he is. He is equally able to nod to humanists and nonbelievers in his speeches as he is able to refer to God. I think this is invaluable in the president of a country of such diverse people. It is great to see someone in power who has such a strong ability to unite rather than to divide.

Edited at 2009-05-20 12:36 am (UTC)
peterchayward From: peterchayward Date: May 20th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC) (Link)

YOU HAVE OFFENDED ME

I BELIEVE THAT HUMANS EVOLVED FROM BELIEF IN FAIRIES
tania From: tania Date: May 20th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: YOU HAVE OFFENDED ME

YOU SIR ARE A CHARLATAN AND CLEARLY INFLUENCED BY THE FAIRY-WING MEDIA
snapesgirl34 From: snapesgirl34 Date: May 20th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Best. Post. Ever. And yeah, Fox is full of fail. :/

And now I want that shirt really badly. XD
sigmoidal_suseq From: sigmoidal_suseq Date: May 20th, 2009 01:40 am (UTC) (Link)
can't talk. must finish what's new. fingers and eyes bleeding. that time of the month. when do you go to tassie.
tania From: tania Date: May 20th, 2009 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Friday the 29th of May for two weeks. Excitement!

What's New and periods both suck. :( You are bleeding from way too many places!
alby_lion From: alby_lion Date: May 20th, 2009 02:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Because Lucy was, you know, not as hot as Eve, apparently.

I see you still have no van and noticed that the sellers are holding out for more moneys. I feel compelled to PayPal you $100 USD. Would you object?
tania From: tania Date: May 20th, 2009 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)
No, don't do that! The fact is, we COULD offer more, but we've checked into the value of this type of van and the cost of tweaks / repairs we'd have to do to turn it into an absolutely reliable beastie, and we're offering the amount we're offering because that's the amount we see as being fair and reasonable for a van of this age/make/standard. And I believe their problem is they feel it should be worth more than what we're offering, to the tune of $500. We're hoping after the van's been on the market for too long they'll reconsider their stance. It's already been out there for about two months with virtually no bites.

But that is very sweet, thank you for offering. *hug*
33 have fought ~ fight the power!