What I Love About Paleoanthropology

Four years ago to the day, I wrote a post called “Why I Am Not a Scientist”. I’ve since privated it, because I don’t like the way I spoke about myself and my own intelligence in that post. My main idea was that I was new to being an informed atheist, and I was not confident in my abilities to refute young-earth creationism. I called myself “scientifically challenged” and expressed that I felt that in order to really be confident in my atheist stance, I would have to become much more educated in various fields of science. I said that I was “really bad at science” even as I said that I loved and appreciated how it allows us to learn about the world around us.

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Answers in Genesis is Threatened by Human Fossil Discoveries

Happy Sunday and welcome to the latest installment in my series Creationists Don’t Understand Human Evolution! This week I will be responding to the three Answers in Genesis articles under their category “Hominids” in which the AiG authors contend with “the news” each time it “eagerly reports the discovery of another link in the supposed chain of hominid evolution.” In my opinion, this whole category seems pretty incomplete, as it only covers two fossil discoveries as well as an ongoing debate between paleoanthropologists. I don’t normally respond to each article separately, but the first of these three has virtually nothing in common with the other two, so I’ll have to tackle that one on its own. The articles are:

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Book Review: The Jesuit and the Skull by Amir D. Aczel

After reading The Demon-Haunted World, I was hoping to find a book that was a bit more fast-paced before moving onto something else academic. I started reading a book that I had had on my shelves for a few months: The Peking Man is Missing by Claire Taschdjian. The Peking Man is a group of fossils that has gone through several names but is now classified as Homo erectus. This might not sound thrilling, but Peking Man’s story is unusually chaotic in that the fossils went missing from their place in China during World War II, and what happened to them is a mystery to this day. Taschdjian’s book really grabbed my attention when I first saw it, and I had been saving it for when I wanted a particularly exciting read. Taschdjian was one of the last people known to have seen the Peking Man fossils before they went missing, and her book is her idea of what may have happened to them, written in the form of a novel.

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Why Paleoanthropology Leads to Atheism

Nowadays, it may not seem like this blog is entirely about atheism anymore, and maybe it’s not. However, one could argue that atheism colors my view of the world and what I write, even if it’s not explicitly mentioned. This is especially the case as I write more and more about paleoanthropology, or the study of human origins. Last week when I wrote my book review of Ian Tattersall’s The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack, I felt that I had crawled into the cave of a very niche topic that is paleoanthropological politics, and I never mentioned God or religion or atheism one time, and I wondered if that was what my readers wanted when they visited my domain.

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Book Review: The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack by Ian Tattersall

Three weeks ago, I reviewed my first ever Ian Tattersall book, Masters of the Planet. As I said then, Ian Tattersall is the curator of the American Museum of Natural History’s Spitzer Hall of Human Origins. He’s been involved in paleoanthropology since the 60’s, and his books combine his undeniable expertise with just enough of his own evidence-based opinions and a dash of wit.

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Book Review: Masters of the Planet by Ian Tattersall

If you have been following my blog for a while, then you might know that I’m becoming a bit of a fanatic for paleoanthropology. The study of human origins has taken over my bookshelf, and I’ve found myself daydreaming about going back to human origins exhibits in museums. This is easy to do each time I get really lost in another book on the topic. This time, that book was Ian Tattersall’s Masters of the Planet.

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