Dangerous ideas

posted by Jason Kottke Nov 01, 2004

Reading the great National Geographic article on evolution (Was Darwin wrong? NO. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming.) I couldn't help but think about the discovery of Homo floresiensis, a species of tiny humans that lived on a small island in Indonesia as recently as 13,000 years ago. A bit from the evolution article:

[Evolutionary theory is] such a dangerously wonderful and far-reaching view of life that some people find it unacceptable, despite the vast body of supporting evidence. As applied to our own species, Homo sapiens, it can seem more threatening still. Many fundamentalist Christians and ultra-orthodox Jews take alarm at the thought that human descent from earlier primates contradicts a strict reading of the Book of Genesis. Their discomfort is paralleled by Islamic creationists such as Harun Yahya, author of a recent volume titled The Evolution Deceit, who points to the six-day creation story in the Koran as literal truth and calls the theory of evolution "nothing but a deception imposed on us by the dominators of the world system."

Flores Man lived at the same time as so-called modern humans and there could have been some interaction between the two groups. That's troubling enough from a creationist's perspective, but some Indonesian myths tell of tiny human-like/monkey-like creatures that are rumored to exist to this day and several eyewitness reports from various sources in Indonesia have hinted at the existence of a bipedal ape called orang pendek. If orang pendek does exist and turns out to be Homo floresiensis, what an amazing discovery that would be. But two different species of contemporary humans...that's a troubling reality to deal with for those that believe strictly in the Genesis account of human origin and supremacy.