from Marty Leipzig Ahem. +quot;Nebraska Man+quot; or +quot;Why Creationists Haven't a Clue

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from Marty Leipzig Ahem... "Nebraska Man" or "Why Creationists Haven't a Clue About Science" "Nebraska Man" is the popular name given to a fossilized tooth discovered in Nebraska by geologist Harold Cook, in the year 1917. In 1922, he shipped the tooth to the eminent paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn who mistakenly identified it as having human origins. In fact, the tooth was from an extinct peccary, a mammal related to pigs. This is not as unlikely as it sounds. If you compare the omnivorous habits of both humans and Suides, there should be convergence as to dental patterns. HF Osborn, the very same one who made the initial misidentification, later (in 1927) corrected his mistake after further evidence came to light. Science corrected itself; just as good science should. But, for some unknown reason, Creationists just love to cite this example (erroneously, of course) of how scientists can be duped and note "...A scientist made a monkey out of a pig and the pig made a monkey out of a scientist (D. Gish, of ICR infamy). What is truly amazing is that the Creationists are condemning science and scientists for doing science, hence the second by-title of this little missive. In 1922, HF Osborn announced to the world _Hesperopithecus haroldcooki_ (Harold Cook's western ape man), based on two worn and damaged fossil teeth. He stated that it "looked 100% anthropoid" and provided "irrefutable evidence that man-apes walked from Asia to North America". To be sure, to base all of this on a couple of worn fossils is quite risky. But, if you were to know HF Osborn, he was the type of professor who would surely rise to the task. He had no qualms making grand and glorious proclamations. He was also the head of the American Museum of Natural History, and one of the most published and immodest paleontologists of the era. He did not leave any aspersions about his magnitude; both intellectually and politically. He was quite positive of his stature. When Hank Osborn said something, people listened, and usually did not ask questions. So, when HFO sprung this on the scientific community, there were many skeptics, but HFO's prestige preceded him. In fact, one British anatomist assisted the Illustrated London News with an artistic reconstruction of Nebraska Man. But, further findings at the site in 1925 began to cast a pall of doubt to HFO's initial analysis. Further material proved the remains to be from a peccary, not human. So, in 1927, HFO retracted _H. haroldcooki_. Science corrected itself. Osborn was mislead by some of the associated fossil material from the site and, as an interseting sidebar, perhaps he was driven by trying to embarrass William Jennings Bryan, the hellfire and brimstone three time failed presidential candidate, lawyer and Nebraskan. So, to be true, scientists do make errors. But science is a self-correcting process and progresses through error detection and correction. It should also caution us who have vivid imaginations. So, the Creationists cite the hoary tale of "Nebraska Man" and present it as fact; showing all (or so they believe) how they can disparage evolution and how "evolutionists" can make a man from a tooth. But, then, what of the claim made by creationist Carl Baugh in 1987 regarding the Glen Rose, Texas discovery of a tooth which led Baugh to construct "Glen Rose Man" from the famous (or, rather infamous) "Mantracks" site? Creationist Carl dubbed the fossil _Humanus- Davidii-Glen Rosii_[sic], demonstrating for all to see the scientific and taxonomic prowess of the creationists. The tooth turned out to be that of a Cretaceous fish. Imagine that, a Cretaceous fish fossil in Cretaceous age rocks. The only reason I bring this little farce up it that the Creationists did exactly what HFO did back in 1925; with one major difference. The scientist publicly retracted his error. The creationists, to this day, never have and continue to cite it in their propaganda. Can we say "accountability"? ... Prophets and divines are fond of puzzling each other. --- Blue Wave/Max v2.12 * Origin: A Little Corner in Time BBS (1:106/113.0)


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