Friday, August 27, 2010

Sediba feedback

This will be the last sediba post for a while. I promise.

I've gotten a lot of interesting responses to my recent post on responding to my critics. As I expected, everyone who wrote wants me to finish and publish my formal response. Beyond that, the responses were all over the map.

Some people thought I was discouraged by the critics. That was not what I meant to convey. My discouragement over finishing my response is simply a recognition that I'm basically talking to a brick wall. These five have already made up their minds about sediba, and nothing I say will change that. The only audience I could possibly address are those who aren't quite sure what to make of all this. I asked for feedback basically to find out how many of you are in that undecided camp, to see if responding was worth my while. More on that later.

A few emailed to say that I'd been unfair to my critics. After all, no one wants to mistake an ape for a human! OK, let's put it in perspective then. Over the past decade, I've published literally dozens of baraminology studies, more than I can even keep track of anymore. Until this year, I had been formally criticized for only a single study: the horse study from 2003. Apparently, no one gave a hoot about putting all the grasses in a baramin or all the seals in a baramin. But expand the human baramin beyond what "mainstream" creationists (which of course are no more qualified to comment on paleoanthropology than I) accept, and suddenly there are four responses describing my work as "reckless" or condemning baraminology altogether. If anyone's overreacting, it ain't me.

So here's what I'm going to do. I have a lot on my plate right now. I need to finish my response to Senter, which I consider the more pressing issue at present. Then, I have another project (on mammal phylogeny) that should be next on my agenda. Meanwhile, I'm teaching two classes this fall and supervising two student research projects. And I really, really want to get the whales off my desk (literally, there's a pile of whale papers and notes on my desk right now). I'll put sediba on the (semi)short list... maybe I'll get to it around Christmas. Until then, I'm done writing about it. Unless someone publishes something really outrageous about sediba, this blog will be sediba-free for the foreseeable future.

P.S. Have you read Paul Garner's take on the sediba critics? "Quite irrational." I'm sure he must be right. After all, he speaks with an English accent.

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com.