In a recent Nature Book Review about the new book, Origins and Revolutions: Human Identity in Earliest Prehistory, Clive Gamble, Cambridge University Press: 2007, Proctor compares paleontology and geology and notes that in both … “absence of evidence can be evidence of an absence.”
Books and Arts
Nature 448, 752-753 (16 August 2007)
Robert N. Proctor
Gamble shows that the rate of invention grows slowly over the long haul of human evolution, and reminds us that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But how long should we search the Middle Palaeolithic for painted caves or sculpted figurines before concluding that none was ever done, and not for lack of interest, but for lack of capacity? For many years, geologists were reluctant to recognize catastrophes, postulating ‘missing strata’ to account for apparent jumps. The rehabilitation of catastrophes over the past few decades owes much to a renewed appreciation that absence of evidence can be evidence of an absence. I think it is fair to ask whether the situation might not be similar for paleoanthropology.
And who, may I ask, has pushed geologists to this new realization?
Henry Morris? Perhaps? Anyone heard of The Genesis Flood way back in 1961?
Rehabilitation? Hmmm … yes … rehabilitation. Why? Well because most of the Founders of Modern Science explained the Geologic Column by reference to the Very Large Catastrophe known as the Genesis Flood. Then along came the “Genesis is a Fairy Tale” people and sold their bill of goods to a new academic elite who for some reason had a strong motivation to believe them in spite of the evidence to the contrary.
Interesting, isn’t it?
For some great quotes on catastrophism see my article HERE.