Scientific Finding Upsets Rush Limbaugh

darwinius

The finding of a primate fossil is significant but the meaning has been distorted in some of the media coverage. The Opinionator summarizes the story about Ida and puts it in perspective. It is towards the end where things get interesting. Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs uses  coverage of the story to finally determine that Rush Limbaugh is a creationist.

The question has come up several times, in our threads related to evolution, whether Rush Limbaugh is a creationist. I searched for definitive statements because I was curious where he stood, but was never able to really pin it down.

Well, today he pretty much settled the matter, with a rant about the “missing link” fossil announced by an international team of scientists; yep, he’s a creationist.

RUSH: Drudge had as a lead item up there this morning on his page a story from the UK, Sky News: “Scientists Unveil Missing Link In Evolution.” It’s all about how Darwin would be thrilled to be alive today. “Scientists have unveiled a 47-million-year-old fossilised skeleton of a monkey hailed as the missing link in human evolution.” It’s a one-foot, nine-inch-tall monkey, and it’s a lemur monkey described as the eighth wonder of the world. “The search for a direct connection between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom has taken 200 years – but it was presented to the world today —” So I guess this is settled science. We now officially came from a monkey, 47 million years ago. Well, that’s how it’s being presented here. It’s settled science. You know, this is all BS, as far as I’m concerned. Cross species evolution, I don’t think anybody’s ever proven that. They’re going out of their way now to establish evolution as a mechanism for creation, which, of course, you can’t do, but I’m more interested in some other missing link. And that is the missing link between our failing economy and prosperity.

Incidentally, while the finding is consistent with evolutionary science, it does not say that we came from a monkey. The early primate fossil could be a common ancestor to both monkeys and humans. It is also possible that it is a more distant relative.

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11 Comments

  1. 1
    Ralph says:

    While it’s true that neither Darwin nor any of his successors claimed humans were descended from monkeys, presumably early ancestors of humans did actually bear some resemblance to the creatures we now call monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and so forth. We look a lot like those other primates now, so why shouldn’t our ancestors?

  2. 2
    Christoher Skyi says:

    Genetic technology will eventually answer a lot of these questions, though probably not for quite awhile.

    In the meantime, there’s now a fascinating story where modern human being originated. It doesn’t talk about what happened before, because the DNA technology wasn’t designed to go further back, the story is amazing, and beautiful.

    “DNA studies suggest that all humans today descend from a group of African ancestors who—about 60,000 years ago—began a remarkable journey.
    The Genographic Project is seeking to chart new knowledge about the migratory history of the human species by using sophisticated laboratory and computer analysis of DNA contributed by hundreds of thousands of people from around the world. In this unprecedented and of real-time research effort, the Genographic Project is closing the gaps of what science knows today about humankind’s ancient migration stories.
    The Genographic Project is a five-year research partnership led by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Spencer Wells. Dr. Wells and a team of renowned international scientists and IBM researchers, are using cutting-edge genetic and computational technologies to analyze historical patterns in DNA from participants around the world to better understand our human genetic roots.”

    You can watch the PBS special here:

    Spencer Wells – “Journey of man”

  3. 3
    Mike says:

    Does anybody have an idea where desire comes from?  I mean, like why does an antelope desire to run from a lion?  Why does a lion want to eat? Maybe evolution has increased desire from generation to generation but where did it begin? Rocks, for example seem to not care if the move through mountain shifts, stay in one place, or get melted into lava. Why do living things want to continue to live?

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Antelopes which run away from lions tend to have a better chance of surviving and passing on their genes than antelopes which do not run away.

  5. 5
    Mike says:

    Yes, of course. But that answer to me sounds circular. Correct me if I’m wrong but to say a living thing’s desire to live comes from its desire to survive doesn’t answer how living things started wanting to live. Compare to non-life, say I had zillions of playing cards. If I started selecting black ones and burning red ones, more black ones would survive, but at what point would the playing cards desire to be black?  It seems to me that non-life never seems to care if it maintains its shape or form.  Some substances resist erosion more than others, obsidian v.s. sandstone for example, but over time, obsidian never improves its resistance to erosion, does it?  What I’m trying to get at is this.  Desire seems to be so omnipresent in all life and so completely absent in non-life,  that while they interact- life dies and becomes non-life and life can consume non-life to produce more life.  The two are different enough that I can’t imagine one pre-dating the other.  Non-life having existed forever and life having existed in some form forever also.   Well, I don’t consider myself a great intellect and I’m on this website hoping to have exposed to me the great lapses in my logic that I suspect exist.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    It isn’t really a matter of desire but a matter of which behaviors lead to increased chance of survival. It doesn’t matter if a living thing “wants” to live. If they don’t exhibit behavior which leads to survival the gene pool will die out.

    Your cards never desire to be any particular color but if all red cards were burnt then eventually red cards would become extinct, as many species of animals have. If your cards were living organisms, then red cards would become extinct unless some red cards developed a way to survive. This might include becoming black, developing a way to escape from you, or becoming resistant to fire. If some red cards developed abilities such as these they could then survive and pass on such genes to their card children.

    Of course cards are not living and will not develop any of these abilities. Similarly stones in your example will never improve their resistance to erosion. In contrast living organisms can change. For example, there might be random mutations which give some organisms an advantage, such as becoming faster at running away from predators. Those are the genes which survive and over time the species will be more likely to be made up of faster antelope, or at least antelope smart enough to run away from lions.

  7. 7
    Mike says:

    I think I like this blogging stuff 🙂 but got to go back to the daily grind for now. I have the genes that don’t want to be nagged by my wife for all the other stuff I was suppose to get done today.

  8. 8
    Christoher Skyi says:

    “Desire seems to be so omnipresent in all life and so completely absent in non-life,  WHAT IS DESIRE? ”

    Well, in humans, it’s our emotions that motivate us, desire being one of them.  The underpinnings of emotion are, of course,  physical, neurobiological. Humans become “aware” or “conscious” of our physical states by “feelings.” 

    “why does an antelope desire to run from a lion?”

    When an animal receives a visual, auditory or other sensory stimulus that is recognized by the brain (programmed and built by DNA across time in the forge of evolution) as potentially dangerous, the neurons from the eye or other sensory organ send a signal directly to the amygdala (2). The amygdala then stimulates the hypothalamus to produce corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). The release of CRH triggers the pituitary gland’s discharge of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which in turn stimulates the adrenal gland to secrete cortisol. Cortisol in the bloodstream causes an increase in glucose production, providing the necessary fuel for the brain and muscles to deal with stress.

    The behavioral consequence of this is that the antelope runs away.

    We would do the same, and the higher parts of our brains that create self-awareness and consciousness would also cause us to “feel” fear.  We and the antelope have the same physical state, the same “feelings,” but we also “know” we’re afraid.

    Joseph Ledoux, a neuroscientist at New York University, is one of the pioneers in the Neurobiology of Fear.

    Neuroscience has made astonishing gains in understanding how our bodies and brains create conscious “experience,” and two seminal books came out a few years ago. If you want know how science has (so far) answered the question “where desire comes from?” check out:

    Joseph Ledoux’s The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life

    and Antonio Damasio’s excellent The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness

  9. 9
    Christoher Skyi says:

    “It isn’t really a matter of desire but a matter of which behaviors lead to increased chance of survival. It doesn’t matter if a living thing “wants” to live. If they don’t exhibit behavior which leads to survival the gene pool will die out.”

    Ron has this almost right — desire is hard-wired in us to lead to those behaviors that increased the chance of survival.  That’s the result of evolution creating and working on that part of our brain known as the “emotional brain.”

    An infant doesn’t “know” if it doesn’t eat or drink or get held, it will die. It just “desires” these things — the “feelings” come from the body, it’s needs, its states. The body will automatically do what it needs to do, if it can. Later, the child will learn to identify and label those feelings, i.e., emotions.

  10. 10
    Christoher Skyi says:

    Ok, I really got caught up in this question (“where does desire comes from”), and it’s past my bedtime, but seems that even the highest most mysterious of emotions, LOVE, come down to: dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, estrogen & oxytocin and testosterone:

    The Biology of Dating: Why Him, Why Her? Ah, the eternal question: Why is he with her? Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher thinks she has found the answer after studying academic literature on personality and poring over 40,000 responses to a questionnaire on a dating website. A Rutgers professor and paid adviser for Chemistry.com, Fisher not only believes in romantic chemistry but is zeroing in on specific chemicals.”

    She’s written a book, of course: Why Him, Why Her: Finding Real Love by Understanding Your Personality Type.”

    A fascinating excerpt from her book:

    “‘Love hopes all things, the Bible says. I hoped for Patrick and Suzanne. But I also had a reason to be optimistic about their marriage. I knew some things about their personalities because both had taken my personality test, a series of questions I had devised to establish some basic things about a person’s biological temperament. Both had told me their test results. And from these data, I was confident that Patrick’s particular chemical profile would complement Suzanne’s, creating a biological and psychological cocktail that would keep them captivated with each other for years. “

  11. 11
    Mike says:

    Thanks for your reply. I did read it. I admittedly got lost in parts, but I followed the themes and accept for the most part, the conclusions.  In fact, so much so, it makes me want to ask further.  I just assumed something like: “Where does morality come from?”  is just too imponderable to ask. But the way you broke down desire so completely, maybe you wouldn’t mind taking a crack at that too.   Oh, and I still hold the belief that we have yet to see anything but life produce life. Yes?

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