Excerpt from Homo Naledi: The Rising Star of Evolutionary Icons by Heath Henning. This book can be downloaded for free.
Creationist Marc Ambler wrote, “Professor Lee Berger from the University of Witwatersrand, paleoanthropologist and leader of the team that researched the find at the so-called ‘Cradle of Humankind’ is a ‘celebrity’ scientist who knows well how to extract maximum publicity, something even the evolutionary sympathetic media acknowledge.”1) Marc Ambler, “What to make of Homo Naledi? More psuedo-scientific claims of human ancestry” Sep. 22, 2015; http://creation.com/homo-naledi Indeed, NBCNews stated, “Berger, a jocular American with a flare for showmanship…”2)Themba Hadebe “Critics Question Homo Naledi Fossil Find in South Africa” Sep. 16, 2015, NBCNews; http://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/critics-question-homo-naledi-fossil-find-south-africa-n428401 National Geographic, who have the most invested in this discovery and the claims made by Berger, confessed, “Berger is a tireless-fund raiser and a master at enthralling a public audience.”3)Jamie Shreeve, “This Face Changes the Human Story. But How?” Sep. 10, 2015, National Geographic; http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150910-human-evolution-change/ How much of what the media has reported is Dr. Berger’s natural flare for raising funds and raising his own name to fame?
Disccussing a lecture Lee Berger gave at the Perot Museaum, Dallas Morning News reported,
Scientist Lee Berger used to believe the odds of finding the fossils of man’s primitive ancestors were 10 million to 1.
But after unearthing his second major discovery, he has changed his mind.4)Annan Kuchment, “Scientist Lee Berger details discovery of primitive species in Perot Museum lecture,” Sep. 29 updated Sep. 30, 2015, Dallas Morning News; http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/dallas/headlines/20150929-scientist-lee-berger-details-discovery-of-primitive-species.ece
His first claim to fame fizzled out because the controversy about his find being a new species. Mark Johnson writes:
Once a fruitful area for fossils, the South African caves had not yielded significant discoveries for many years. That changed roughly a decade ago when Berger, a paleoanthropologist at the University of the Witwatersrand, undertook a systematic re-examination of the area, studying images from Google Earth and walking the land.
On one of these walks in 2008, Berger’s 9-year-old son, Matthew, stumbled upon a fossilized collarbone almost 2 million years old inside a block of breccia, an assortment of rock and mineral fragments cemented together. Further excavations uncovered parts of two skeletons belonging to a new species called Australopithecus sediba. The new species appeared to walk on two legs, but also climb through trees, making it a possible bridge between ape-like creatures and humans.5)Mark Johnson, “Our family tree grows,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sep. 10, 2015, 6A
Marc Ambler recognized, “To regain the spotlight, Berger needed a Homo. H. naledi appears to have enough anatomical overlap to be at least tentatively accomplished in that genus for now.”6)Marc Ambler, “What to make of Homo Naledi? More psuedo-scientific claims of human ancestry” Sep. 22, 2015; http://creation.com/homo-naledi
However, secular scientists are not convinced. “University of Zurich anthropologist Christopher Zollikofer told the Guardian many of the bone characteristics used to claim the creature as a new species are seen in more primitive animals and thus by definition cannot be used to define a new species.”7)Sara Nelson, “Homo Naledi: New Species Of Ancient Human Discovered In South African Cave,” October 9, 2015; http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/09/10/homo-naledi-new-species-human-discovered-south-african-cave_n_8115120.html?vm=r&s=1 Tim White from University of California Berkeley, stated, “From what is presented here, they belong to a primitive Homo erectus, a species named in the 1800’s.”8)Ian Sample, “Homo naledi: new species of ancient human discovered, claim scientist,” 10, September 2015; https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/sep/10/new-species-of-ancient-human-discovered-claim-scientists Actually it falls more in line with australopithecine as we have seen.
Christopher Zollikofer, an anthropologist from the university of Zurich, agrees, “The ‘new species’ and ‘dump-the-dead’ claims are clearly for the media. None of them is substantiated by the data presented in the publications.”9)Ian Sample, “Homo naledi: new species of ancient human discovered, claim scientist,” 10, September 2015; https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/sep/10/new-species-of-ancient-human-discovered-claim-scientists Others have indicated Berger’s actions with this discovery seem to be mere publicity stunts.
One said: “There are many male cavers who could get in there, but that would have spoiled the publicity stunt.”10)Robin McLie, “Scientist who found New Human Species accused of playing fast and loose with the truth” 24, October, 2015; https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/oct/25/discovery-human-species-accused-of-rushing-errors
Dr. Berger character is questionable and we should question whether his discoveries are trustworthy.
Dr. Berger’s character presents us with reasons to be suspicious of his findings as well as his conclusions that are force fed the public through the media. Secular reporters acknowledge further aspects of Berger’s criticism: “Meanwhile, some in the field have criticized Berger’s inability to date his find, while others are challenging Berger’s claims that the remains in Rising Star Cave had been buried deliberately.”11)Klona Smith-Strickland, “The Controversy over Homo Naledi Is Actually a Good Thing,” 10/25/15; http://gizmodo.com/the-controversy-over-homo-naledi-is-actually-a-good-thi-1738572110 Surely if Berger had these bones planted there, he would attempt to avoid any dating of them in order to not have them proven to be of a young date. Remember CMI made the public challenge and offered to pay for Carbon 14 dating. Berger insists his discovery is 2 million years old and has encouraged that date to be promoted in all the secular papers written on the subject. Why? Because he needs the public convinced by him before they are confronted with all the suspicious factors that might convince them to the contrary.
The possibility of these bones being planted is indicated by the way they were “arranged.” National Geographic reported, “(It was clear from the arrangement of the bones that someone had already been there, perhaps decades ago.)”12)Jamie Shreeve, “This Face Changes the Human Story. But How?” Sep. 10, 2015, National Geographic; http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150910-human-evolution-change/ The dump the dead theory does not hold to much weight when we find the confession of the bones being arranged. The Dirks et al. technical paper relates, “The avian specimens were part of a group of bones that had been ‘arranged’ on rocks by an unknown caver prior to discovery by our caving team… We, therefore, interpret the observed dry-bone fracture patterns to be due to post-depositional sediment movement within the chamber as Unit 2 and 3 are reworked, as well as unintentional damage by cavers or others entering the chamber…”13)Paul Dirks, et al., “Geological and taphonomic context for the new hominin species Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa,” Sep. 12, 2015; http://elifesciences.org/content/4/e09561 So they claim the bones were fractured by sediment movement and unknown cavers that were not a part of their team recovering the bones. But if sediment movement caused the breakage, that would have taken place over long periods of time which does not fit the evidence.
Dr. Berger said in an interview with the Observer:
“Before we started the dig, we could see the white patches on the bones and realized they had been caused by recent breakage,” he [Berger] told the Observer last week.14)Robin McLie, “Scientist who found New Human Species accused of playing fast and loose with the truth” 24, October, 2015; https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/oct/25/discovery-human-species-accused-of-rushing-errors
This was said as a response to the criticism of quick work causing the breaks. Perhaps it was not the quick dig but the recent planting of the bones down this chute which caused the brakes and being “white patches” means these brakes were recent not millions of years. It definitely was not sediment movement causing the breaks, as they claimed, since that would have caused staining on the white patches to an equal degree of the surface of the bones. Again, it is obvious they are not fossilized as National Geographic tells us:
They weren’t stone heavy, like most fossils, nor were they encased in stone—they were just lying about on the surface, as if someone had tossed them in. They noticed a piece of a lower jaw, with teeth intact; it looked human.”15)Jamie Shreeve, “This Face Changes the Human Story. But How?” Sep. 10, 2015, National Geographic; http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150910-human-evolution-change/
Recent breaks in the bones that are not fossilized being evident in the fact of white patches where they were broken as well as the indication that they were “arranged,” unburied, not deteriorated by bugs gnawing on them can hardly allow even a decade of them being placed there. Yet the scientists allow no other option than the burial theory, which is not reasonable, so we are left with no other option than to believe the bones were planted. The fact that the chamber was known about before this discovery and the bones were never noticed in any significant way—the avian bones being arranged shows the former cavers aware of these bones found more interest in the bird bones—seems to offer us reason to believe the Homo naledi bones were not present much earlier.
Creationists Tim Carey from Institute for Creation Research points out, “All the unusual sizes and mixtures of human and apelike traits indicate the bones may not even match.”16)Tim Carey, Ph.D., “Homo Naledi: New Claims of a Missing Link,” December 2015, Acts & Facts. 44 (12). p. 17; http://www.icr.org/article/9005 He follows this with his suspicion, “Could the paleontologists have fabricated a new species by cobbling together parts from unrelated kinds? Did they use their imagings of their expectations—to put the pieces together? If so, it wouldn’t be the first time.”17)Tim Carey, Ph.D., “Homo Naledi: New Claims of a Missing Link,” December 2015, Acts & Facts. 44 (12). p. 17; http://www.icr.org/article/9005 This he wrote in light of an early article in which he criticized, “Also, the cranium pieces didn’t seem to fit the jaws. Despite what artistic depictions show, no substantially complete skulls were found with jaw and cranium attached.”18)Tim Carey, Ph.D., “Homo Naledi: Geology of a Claimed Missing Link,” October 2015, http://www.icr.org/article/homo-naledi-geology-claimed-missing/ Such criticism is not only from the Creationists community.
As for the Dinaledi finds, Schwartz and Tattersall point out that although the foreheads of some of the new skulls are gently sloped, one skull has a taller forehead with a distinct brow ridge – suggesting two species are present. “Putting these fossils in the genus Homo adds to the lack of clarity in trying to sort out human evolution,” says Schwartz. Berger disagrees, saying this can be explained by differences between males and females of the same species.19)Collin Barras, “New spiecies of extinct human found in cave may rewrite history,” September 10, 2015, New Scientist; https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22730383-700-new-species-extinct-human-found-in-cave-may-rewrite-history/
Berger will always defend his claim to fame because the only other option is his complete disrepute as a scientist, utter shame, and embarrassment to the evolutionary community for presenting another fraud as evidence for a foolish philosophy. Different skulls cannot be explained by different genders. Human skulls do not morph in different forms for the distinct genders. Why would some extinct creature that is allegedly a transitional form of the Homo genus?