Richard Leakey: Evolution is Real, despite Denial. BTW, same with Climate Change.
May 29, 2012
As climate deniers more and more form alliances with science denial across the board, fossil expert Richard Leakey reminds us that the battle against science denial crosses many disciplines. Truth, however, knows no boundaries.
Sometime in the next 15 to 30 years, the Kenyan-born paleoanthropologist expects scientific discoveries will have accelerated to the point that “even the skeptics can accept it.”
Not sure I share his optimism. Reason and logic have not been all that successful over the years. As Einstein reputedly said, “Both the universe and stupidity are infinite, and I am not quite sure about the former.”
“If you get to the stage where you can persuade people on the evidence, that it’s solid, that we are all African, that color is superficial, that stages of development of culture are all interactive,” Leakey says, “then I think we have a chance of a world that will respond better to global challenges.”
“We are all African.” Well, that kind of gets to the root of science’s problem, doesn’t it? Any questions about why both evolution and climate denial are concentrated in the old confederacy?
Watch here as Cal Beisner, leader of the “Cornwall Alliance”, a right wing fundy wackjob group, and one of the Heartland Institute’s “experts” on climate change, tiptoes delicately around presenting paleo-temp records to young-earth creationists. (at about 2:15 )
“..and of course, if you’re a young earth creationist, you’re going to have to do some changing of how you interpret some of the chronologies here, to fit it into your paradigm, I think that’s an entirely legitimate thing to do..”
See? Shape reality to fit your paradigm. It’s the Heartland way. Anyhow, back to Leakey….
“If you look back, the thing that strikes you, if you’ve got any sensitivity, is that extinction is the most common phenomena,” Leakey says. “Extinction is always driven by environmental change. Environmental change is always driven by climate change. Man accelerated, if not created, planet change phenomena; I think we have to recognize that the future is by no means a very rosy one.”
Any hope for mankind’s future, he insists, rests on accepting existing scientific evidence of its past.
“If we’re spreading out across the world from centers like Europe and America that evolution is nonsense and science is nonsense, how do you combat new pathogens, how do you combat new strains of disease that are evolving in the environment?” he asked.
“If you don’t like the word evolution, I don’t care what you call it, but life has changed. You can lay out all the fossils that have been collected and establish lineages that even a fool could work up. So the question is why, how does this happen? It’s not covered by Genesis. There’s no explanation for this change going back 500 million years in any book I’ve read from the lips of any God.”
Leakey insists he has no animosity toward religion.
“If you tell me, well, people really need a faith … I understand that,” he said.
“I see no reason why you shouldn’t go through your life thinking if you’re a good citizen, you’ll get a better future in the afterlife ….”
And, hey, just a quick note. Although I’m hard on fundy nutjobs from time to time, I have no problem with anyone’s religion. Sermon on the Mount? Do unto others? Reap what you sow? I’m all about it.
Bring the compassion, keep the crazy, and we’ll get along fine.