Pastor Daniel Singh continues his attempts to demean the work of science in his May 29th (GC) letter, “Looks like aunt ‘Ida’ was an imposter”. He says the “plot thickened” when it was “discovered” that the fossil nicknamed, “Ida” was bought from a private collector.
This is the first “plot” I know of where the plotters put their plan on public exhibition.
How much of a plot is there when anyone can visit the fossil, Darwinius masillae, at the Natural History Museum in New York. Does a plot “thicken” when there is critical public and professional scrutiny?
Obviously, there is no plot, except that Pastor Singh wants you to imagine that there is one.
How could he say it was a “discovery” that the fossil was bought when the researcher openly said in his TV special that he bought it? Pastor Singh is guilty of using loaded language.
As every amateur paleontologist and scientific novice knows, fossils can be dug up by just about anyone and very often are sold to collectors on an established and open fossil market.
It is the scientific examination of the fossil that gives it its worth, not where and when or from whom it was acquired.
Pastor Singh’s most egregious claim is that “the supposed missing link was denounced by fellow paleontologist scientists as most likely to be an ancestor of lemurs and bush babies.” He did not name any of these critics or gave their credentials.
The truth is that among the features of Ida’s anatomy are the absence of a “toothcomb”, a fused row of teeth in the middle of the lower jaw, and a “toilet claw”, which is a grooming claw on the second digit of the foot.
These features are attributes of lemurs but absent in monkeys and apes, indicating Ida’s transition to anthropoid primates.
Furthermore, Ida’s fingertips end in nails rather than claws, which is another link with monkeys and apes.
Her eye sockets housed large, forward-pointing eyes that probably gave her good 3-D, binocular vision. And importantly, Ida had opposable thumbs on five-digit hands, a signature feature of monkeys and apes and essential for the precision grip needed to make and handle tools, a key development in human evolution.
What has some scientists peeved is how the Ida story emerged in a blaze of publicity co-ordinated by a television documentary company. Usually, new discoveries of this significance are first published in peer-reviewed scientific literature.
However, this study was published in a free-access, on-line journal called PLOS which said that it announced the study to coincide with a press conference in New York organised by the American Museum of Natural History and its media partners.
I wish to thank Mr. Lutchman Gossai for his comments regarding my “schooling” of the unscientific writers to the press. I should tell him that I find some of these students to be quite hopeless in regards to grasping a 21st century science education.
So the desperate distortions continue, but who believes them now, except the gullible and the willingly ignorant?
When one is born over again does one’s sense of shame gets stripped away in the process?
Justin de Freitas
Sep 18, 2018Story and photos by Zaheer Mohamed A well complied century by wicket-keeper batsman Kemol Savory backed up by a decent bowling performance handed last year’s finalist Essequibo a 90-run victory...
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected]com / [email protected]