Another evolutionist propaganda storm is coming to an end in the face of contradictory evidence and increasing objections.
On 23 May, 2006, the Ntvmsnbc.com news portal carried a report headed “Debate over the truth of the Hobbit.” The report contained the latest study regarding Homo floresiensis, nicknamed the “hobbit” (*) by the media, and some views concerning it.
Readers will recall that Homo floresiensis, discovered in the cave of Liang Bua on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003, stirred up considerable reaction in both the media and the scientific world, even being described as a “revolution in anthropology.” It was estimated that the bones unearthed belonged to eight individuals and dated back between 95,000-12.000 years. The feature that made Flores man the subject of such great interest was its small brain volume and short stature. Scientists calculated that these human beings were around 1 metre (3 feet) tall with a brain approximately 400 cubic centimetres (24 cubic inches) in size (comparable to a grapefruit).
The Ntvmsnbc.com report concerned the latest developments in the debate over the factor leading to such small brain dimensions. It described the latest developments in these terms:
“It was suggested that the skeletons belonging to the hominid Hobbit discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003 in fact belonged to native peoples living in the region … It is suggested that the skeletons, believed to belong to a hominid known as the Hobbit, belonged to a human being with a genetic disease. The Hobbit skeleton found on the island of Flores attracted great interest from the scientific world. It is estimated that the dwarfish human known as Homo floresiensis lived isolated in the island jungle, far from other people, until the 1900s.” (http://ntvmsnbc.com/news/373813.asp)
These developments are important as confirming a point we have been raising on our website since the very outset: The claim that Flores Man represents a separate species is a deception resorted to in the light of the need to keep the theory of evolution alive. The “species” division inferred from the bones is a veil with which evolutionists seek to pull the wool over society’s eyes and is based on no scientific criteria permitting any claim of objectivity.
The details of these new developments are considered below, and the collapse of the evolutionist propaganda regarding Flores Man is demonstrated. Before that, however, a brief look at the debate over Homo floresiensis’s small brain volume and body dimensions, and the parties involved, will not go amiss.
The scientists who made and reported the discovery described Flores Man as a species distinct from Homo sapiens on the basis of its comparatively small dimensions. According to this totally imaginary claim, Flores Man was one of the descendants of Homo erectus and had emerged as a separate species by being isolated and shrinking in size on the island of Flores. Other scientists subsequently later opposed this view, objecting that Flores Man was actually a sub-species of Homo sapiens, in other words an ancient race of human beings, and that those small dimensions stemmed from the disease microcephaly (1, 2, 3). According to this view, these people’s brains had failed to develop as the result of a genetic impairment, remaining very small. Since microcephaly is a genetic disorder that is more prevalent in isolated populations it was understandable that short stature should be observed in all the Flores specimens belonging to eight individuals.
A team led by the Florida State University anthropologist Dean Falk, one of the proponents of the separate species claim, conducted a study in the face of this development and sought to object to the microcephalic explanation. The team compared the Homo floresiensis skull with those of great apes, Homo erectus (For further information, please visit http://www.darwinism-watch.com/darwinist_prop_1_homoerectus.php ) , Homo sapiens (For further information, please visit http://darwinismrefuted.com/origin_of_man_07.html ), Australopithecus africanus (For further information, http://darwinismrefuted.com/origin_of_man_02.html ) and Paranthropus aethiopicus, a pygmy and a microcephalic human and claimed that Homo floresiensis’s small skull size was not the result of microcephaly and that it was a distinct species from Homo sapiens. (Dean Falk et al., “The Brain of LB1, Homo floresiensis”, Science, Vol. 308. no. 5719, 3 March 2005, pp. 242 – 245)
The response of Martin’s team to Falk’s team:
The developments referred to on Ntvmsnbc.com concern a technical response to Falk and her team by another team led by the Field Museum of Chicago primatologist Robert D. Martin in the 19 May, 2006, edition of the prestigious scientific journal Science. In the paper in question, Martin and his team published a technical analysis concerning Homo floresiensis (Flores Man). (Robert D. Martin et al., Comment on "The Brain of LB1, Homo floresiensis", Science, Vol. 312. no. 5776, 19 May 2006, p. 999) Martin and his supporters put forward evidence from comparative anatomy to the effect that the small brain size of Flores Man can be explained in terms of the microcephaly seen in today’s human beings, as well as revealing weaknesses and deficiencies in Falk’s research. Falk, whose claims had thus been undermined, described the criticisms as superficial, but was unable to provide any concrete response to them. (Dean Falk et al., “Response to Comment on "The Brain of LB1, Homo floresiensis", Science, Vol. 312. no. 5776, 19 May 2006, p. 999)
Martin and his team wrote the following in the summary section of their article that demolished Falk’s results:
Endocast analysis of the brain Homo floresiensis by Falk etal. (Reports, 8 April 2005, p. 242) implies that the hominid is an insular dwarf derived from H. erectus, but its tiny cranial capacity cannot result from normal dwarfing. Consideration of more appropriate microcephalic syndromes and specimens supports the hypothesis of modern human microcephaly. (Robert D. Martin et al, ibid.)
In their paper, the research team showed that the island dwarfism parameters seen in mammals in particular excluded Homo floresiensis. To put it another way, the small brain and body dimensions of Homo floresiensis were not of a level that could result from island dwarfism.
Responses to the dwarfism claim
It is a known fact that mammal species living on islands are smaller than their counterparts living on the mainland. During this process, living things separated from the mainland population due to geographic isolation gradually become physically smaller on account of the restricted food resources available. Various fossils obtained on islands constitute excellent examples of this. For example, fossils of elephants a mere 1 metre in height have been uncovered on islands such as Sicily and Malta, and it has been estimated that these were stuck on the islands and separated from elephants 4 metres in height, and shrank in size in as little as 5,000 years. (Lister A., et al. Symposia of the Zoological Society of London, 69. 277 - 292 (1996); Marta Mirazon Lahr & Robert Foley, "Human evolution writ small", 27 October 2004, http://www.nature.com/news/2004/041025/full/4311043a.html) (This “dwarfism” is not “evolution,” of course. Because a living thing exposed to dwarfism does not acquire new, genetically based features. In the same way that a pocket radio developed by engineers has merely been reduced in size and acquires no new technology, of the kind that might turn it into a television, for instance, so a living thing exposed to dwarfism has not undergone evolution.)
In addition, island dwarfism exhibits certain average parameters. The levels of brain and body shrinkage are more or less fixed, and the body decreases in size relatively more than the brain. Ann MacLarnon from Roehampton University, a member of Martin’s team, modelled the dwarfism forms of various mammals, from dogs to elephants and compared them with the human beings. Based on these data, the scientists emphasize that the skeleton brain is very small for a dwarf hominid; so much so, in fact, they state that a brain volume of 400 cc could only occur in a person 30 cm tall. MacLarnon also states that a dwarf Homo erectus would be expected to weigh a mere 2 kilograms, and that this is at least one-tenth less than the actual Hobbit must have weighed. (Adrian Barnett, “New Research suggests "hobbit" was not a new species”, New Scientist News Service, 18 May 2006, http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9190-new-research-suggests-hobbit-was-not-a-new-species.html)
In addition, the existence of such short people is not actually all that surprising. As we know from pygmies, human tribes with very short stature are still living today. Moreover, according to the Guinness Book of Records website, the American Tamara de Treaux is only 77 cm (2 ft 7 in) tall. Another very short individual is Weng Wang from the Philippines, at 83 cm (2 ft 9 in). (Carl Wieland, "Soggy dwarf bones", http://answersingenesis.org/docs2004/1028dwarf.asp )
If several people of that height were to die on an island, and if palaeontologists of the distant future were to unearth those people’s fossil bones and then attempt to describe them as a separate species, they would of course be making a mistake. Evolutionists’ separate species error regarding Flores Man is of just such a kind.
The deficiencies in Falk’s research
In addition, Martin and his team showed that Falk’s research was unreliable, because the sole microcephalic specimen employed by Falk belonged to a child who had died at the age of 10. However, the Homo floresiensis skull is known to have belonged to an adult aged around 30. The deficiency in Falk’s comparison lies in the use of microcephalic specimens very different in terms of age and very few in number.
In contrast, Martin and his team examined a larger number of skulls that also included adult specimens. Furthermore, the skull used by Falk was not the original, but was based on a plaster model. Moreover, the model’s top region did not exactly fit the other areas and was made from separate plaster. (Robert D. Martin et al, ibid.) This also damaged the reliability of Falk’s comparison.
Homo floresiensis: A modern human race
Martin and his team’s research reveals that Flores Man is not a distinct species from today’s human being, but a human race subjected to microcephaly. Therefore, giving it the name Homo floresiensis is a biased choice made in the light of evolutionists’ preconceptions and of the needs of the theory of evolution. Flores Man is a variation of Homo sapiens. In addition, this is nothing new. The Indonesian anthropologist Teuku Jacob Flores, director of the Institute of Palaeoanthropology at Gadjah Mada University, made this clear in a statement issued shortly after the publication of the Flores discovery:
It is not a new species. It is a sub-species of Homo sapiens classified under the Australomelanesid race. If it’s not a new species, why should it be given a new name?
("Indonesian scientist says Flores hominid not new species", AFP Science by Yahoo, http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1539&e=3&u=/afp/20041106/sc_afp/indonesia_science_palaeontology_041106133524 )
In fact, the statements reported by ntvmsnbc.com and those in the introduction to the article are parallel ones and show that the objection Jacob made a year ago has spread still further within the scientific community.
Flores Man’s small brain reveals a major problem for the theory of evolution
It is particularly important to state that the small Homo floresiensis brain that evolutionists have adopted as “distinct species” criterion actually leads to results that work against the theory of evolution. Because according to classic evolutionist scenarios, human intelligence should have developed in line with an increase in brain volume. However, Flores Man totally undermines that evolutionist dogma. The question that evolutionists are unable to answer is this: how is it that this supposed hominid, with a brain no bigger than that of a chimpanzee, could have made tools used by Homo sapiens, today’s human being, in that period, and could have used them for hunting animals much larger than themselves?
One can see from statements on the subject by evolutionist authorities that they are confronted by a situation that creates problems and confusion for them. The anthropologist Chris Stringer for example, from London’s Museum of Natural History, expresses his astonishment in these terms:
Here is a creature with a brain the size of a chimpanzee"s, but apparently a tool-maker and hunter, and perhaps descended from the world"s first mariners. Its very existence shows how little we know about human evolution. I could never have imagined a creature like this, living as recently as this.
("Our not so distant relative", The Guardian, 28 October 2004, http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/feature/story/0,13026,1337198,00.html )
The evolutionist Peter Brown, one of the main figures in the team that discovered the fossils describes the problem that the skull volume poses for their theories thus:
Small stature is easy to accommodate, but small brain size is a bigger problem - it still is.
("Our not so distant relative", The Guardian, 28 October 2004, http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/feature/story/0,13026,1337198,00.html )
As we have seen, the small Homo floresiensis skull on which evolutionists base their distinct species claim in fact represents a major problem for their own theory. However, evolutionists are oddly attempting to distort this and use it as a propaganda vehicle in their own favor. This, of course, is a dogmatic approach rather than a scientific one.
Evolutionary propaganda has once again been defeated by science
Let us now step back a little while our knowledge about Flores Man is still fresh in our minds and recall the media storm that broke when these findings were first published. In October 2004 many publishing organs gave the impression that the Flores discoveries represented evidence for evolution, interpreting their significance as being “the anthropological discovery of the century” or “a revolution in anthropology.” However, the evolutionist propaganda concerning “the anthropological revolution of the century” soon slowed down during the process of scientific investigation. The “distinct species” claims made regarding the fossils soon became such a matter for debate that just a few months later The Times Online, the Internet edition of The Times and The Sunday Times, summarized the latest developments in these words:
A find heralded as the greatest discovery in anthropology for a century has degenerated into one of its greatest rows.
(Nigel Hawkes, Professor fuels row over Hobbit man fossils, The Times Online, 3 December 2004)
In fact, the evolution speculation regarding the Flores discoveries lacked any sound scientific analysis right from the outset. Martin, who headed the latest research, drew attention to this by saying,
There has been too much media hype and too little critical scientific evaluation.
(“Race of tiny people didn’t exist, scientists say”, 18 May 2006,
The palaeoanthropologist Ian Tattersall also notes this uncertainty:
This is an extraordinarily weird and unexpected thing, and, even now, nobody knows what to do with it.
(Guy Gugliotta, “Scientists Debate the Normalcy of Ancient "Hobbits"”, The Washington Post, 19 May?s 2006, s A12, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/18/AR2006051801301.html?sub=AR)
As can be seen from these comments, another evolutionist propaganda storm is about to come to an end during the process of scientific investigation. Flores Man appears to be about to follow the other fossil species that have been added to the human family tree to great accompanying fanfare but that have later been silently removed in the face of subsequent findings. Evolutionist claims propounded as if they were irrefutable scientific facts can be seen to consist of illusory speculation nourished by ideological fervor.
Conclusion: Evolution preconceptions must not be allowed to pose an obstacle to science
Flores Man, with its small brain volume and body, is of course a most astonishing discovery. However, scientists investigating the factors that led to these characteristics must remain scientifically objective and include all possible explanations in their evaluations. It is clear that describing Flores Man as a distinct species even though its small brain volume can be explained within the framework of a well known disorder such as microcephaly, of which many examples exist, by completely ignoring this possibility, is a far cry from objectivity. An attitude that blindly accepts prejudiced interpretations instead of an analysis that includes all possible alternatives cannot, of course, be maintained in the face of the scientific facts and critical examinations. The latest research that has revealed the deficiencies and weaknesses of the distinct species claim is an excellent example of this. Evolutionists, who hastily interpreted the findings as belonging to a separate species, are once again mistaken and have placed themselves in a very difficult position.
So long as evolutionists put their preconceptions ahead of science such errors will never end, and they will keep on exhibiting behavior that only serves to show how their theories are an ideology that is defended dogmatically.
We congratulate the Ntvmsnbc.com news service for reporting developments that contradict evolutionist hypotheses in this story, and hope that this will become a matter of policy.
[*] Flores Man has been nicknamed the “Hobbit” by the media