Paul Arveson (
Tue, 15 Jul 1997 14:49:39 -0500

I just want to add a short comment on the subject of paleoanthropology,
that is, the scientific study of fossils and artifacts of early humans
and their ancestry.

I have noticed all my life that several times per year, a new discovery
is made in this field, and it causes a sensation in the press, and
among theologians and other communities. Then it is refuted by a new
discovery the next year.

Theory in paleoanthropology must be very frustrating, like building
sand castles on the beach. As soon as you have a nice structure,
a new wave comes along and destroys it. And all the lay people and
theologians are always standing around watching you.

The reason this happens, of course, is that the database is so thin.
(One piece of a jawbone here, one bit of DNA there, etc.)

I'm tired of getting jerked around by all the conjectures and refutations
in this field, and I suspect the field workers are too. I therefore
suggest that we give them a break. I urge secular scientists not to
be grandiose with their data, such as by creating a new species every
time they discover a new fossil, or claiming to retell the whole human
story on the basis of a bit of DNA. I urge Christians not to attack
or criticize these man-made theories as though they were real; and
that everyone should support EMPIRICAL field research, while suspending
judgement on their findings until around the year 2100.

If someone goes out in the field and discovers something, let him
or her describe it and date it -- put 3D pictures on the internet, even.
Let's build up the database and fill in all the gaps and not
expend so much mental effort on putting together a puzzle for which
we have only perhaps 1 per cent of the pieces.

Paul Arveson, Code 724, Signatures Directorate, NSWC
(301) 227-3831 (301) 227-4511 (FAX)